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Picture: Captain’s Ransom, probable favourite for Horse Of The Year award (Candiese Lenferna).

The Equus Award nominees will likely be announced by tomorrow (Tuesday) and the public voting will then be open until Friday.
 
This year for the first time the equine categories for the Equus awards will be decided on three elements: a points system for performance, a vote by an expert panel and a vote by the public.
 
The public will be able to go on to the Equus website to vote. 
 
The system is based on the UK’s Cartier Racing Awards.
 
The nominees from which the expert panelists and the public can choose were listed according to the number of points they gathered in Group and Listed races.
 
There will be some tight categories whereas other categories look cut and dried.
 
Captain’s Ransom will definitely be named Champion Older Female and almost certainly Champion Sprinter as she won two Grade 1s in the latter category, including beating the boys in Saturday’s Grade 1 weight for age Mercury Sprint.
 
She is also favourite to be named Equus Horse Of The Year having won four Grade 1’s from distances of 1200m up to 1800m. On the other hand Jet Dark won the prestigious Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and the wfa Grade 1 Champions Cup as well as finishing second in the country’s two premier races, the wfa Grade 1 WSB Met and the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July, the latter with top weight. He was also a narrow third in the Grade 1 wfa Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge and he is the highest merit rated horse in the country, a full six points higher than Captain’s Ransom.
 
The three-year-old Champion filly is likely to go to Rain In Holland, who not only landed the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara by winning the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas (CFG), the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic and the Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks, but she also added the Grade 2 4Racing Gerald Rosnberg Stakes. Her only competition will come from Chansonette, who won the Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas before finishing narrow seconds to Captain’s Ransom in both the Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes and Grade 1 Schweppes Majorca Stakes. Some will argue the win in such a prestigious race plus two close seconds to a world class filly is right up with Rain In Holland’s performances, but on a line through CFG runner up Desert Miracle, Rain In Holland emerges on top.
 
The three-year-old Champion male will almost certainly go to Safe Passage, who won the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 plus two Grade 2’s and he was second in another Grade 1 and third in the July.
 
The Two-year-old male award will likely go to Cousin Casey, a highly impressive winner of his last two starts in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m and the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Challenge over 1600m. Thunderstruck was also an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Gold Medallion and before that beat Quantum Theory by 4,50 lengths in a Maiden Juvenile, whilst Cousin Casey only beat Quantum Theory by 2,50 lengths on Saturday. However, it is a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 for Cousin Casey vs one Grade 1 for Thunderstruck.
 
The MiIer award should go to Jet Dark as winner of the most prestigious weight for age mile in the country, the Grade 1 wfa L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate and he did it in convincing style. He also finished a narrow third in the Grade 1 wfa Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge from a wide draw, where he beat Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes winner MK’s Pride. Al Muthana beat Jet Dark in the Gold Challenge, but had earlier been thrashed in the Grade 2 Allied-Steelrode Onamission Mile by Bingwa. Captain’s Ransom’s win of the Grade 1 Schweppes Majorca, where she beat Chansonette and subsequent Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes winner Princess Calla, was dampened by her fourth place finish in the Grade 1 Brenford FC Garden Province Stakes.   
 
Jet Dark should also land the Middle Distance award. He was beaten by Kommetdieding in the WSB Met but exacted revenge on Saturday in the HKJC World Pool Champions Cup having also beaten him at level weights in the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
 
Jet Dark should be named Champion Older Male.
 
The Stayers award will likely go to Shangani as he faced his closest rivel Nebraas twice during the season and beat him twice. Shangani won the Grade 3 MWOS Gold Cup on Saturday beating Nebraas by 3,55 length despite receiving only 1kg and he emphatically reversed from with Shango, who had beaten him in the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup by 2.05 lengths when receiving 2kg. Shangani also won two Listed staying events. Nebraas did win two Grade 3s over 2850m and 3200m, which means he will close to being the winner of the points system, but it is the Gold Cup which usually swings the human vote in this category.
 
The Champion Two-Year-OLd filly will be tricky, but Canadian Summer is the likely winner. Classic distance races usually triumph over sprints and Canadian Summer not only won the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m, compared to Green Pepper’s Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship win over 1200m, but she also won the Listed Hollywoodbets Super League Devon Air Stakes over 1400m. On the other hand Sweet Pepper was unbeaten in three starts.