Mrs Geriatrix has the Equus two-year-old filly award wrapped up. (Chase Liebenberg).
The Equus Award ceremony will be held on August 23 and some of the awards looks to already be virtually decided, whilst others are still up in the air.
The three facets which decide the awards are an expert panel vote, a public vote and a points table and they all have equal weighting.
Sean Tarry looks set to carry the most statuettes home.
Tarry’s Mrs Geriatrix (Vercingetorix) is unbeaten in five starts including a Gr 1, two Gr 2s and a Listed win, so she has the Equus Champion two-year-old Filly award wrapped up. She is having a deserved rest at present.
Tarry’s Lucky Lad (Gimmethegreenlight) is unbeaten in four starts including a Gr 1, a Gr 2 and a Gr 3 and he has won all of them easily. The question is whether he will risk his status as the hot favourite to take the Equus Champion two-year0old male award by running in the Gr 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes on World Pool Gold Cup day? He has drawn wide in that 1600m event. Even if he does run and tastes defeat he is unlikely to be usurped as the champion elect, because he is well clear in the points table and will be a popular public choice. The three who could possibly usurp him though are the unbeaten Main Defender, who won the BSA Sales Cup well on Hollywoodbets Durban July day, the impressive Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe winner Sandringham Summit and the equally impressive Listed The Sharks gatecrasher winner and Golden Horseshoe third-placed Gimmeanotherchance. Sandringham summit faced Lucky Lad when they were both making their debut and was beaten just 0,25 lengths, so if he comes out and beats Lucky Lad in a Grade 1 it will put the expert panelists in a quandary.
The Champion Older Female award has been wrapped up by the ultra classy Tarry-trained mare Princess Calla.
Princess Calla is entered in both the Gr 1 HKJC World Pool Champions Cup on World Pool Gold Cup day and the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint. If she wins either she will go to the top of the points table for the Equus Horse Of The Year award. If she runs in and wins the Mercury Sprint she will go top of the table for the Champion Sprinter award. However, Tarry is swinging towards running her in the Champions Cup because of her draw disadvantage against the log leader on the sprinter table, Gimme A Prince.
The Equus Champion Middle distance award looks likely to go to See It Again and there must be a mistake on the points table in this category because he does not appear on it. He has won the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby and Gr 1 Daily News 2000 over a middle distance and finished second in the Hollywoodbets Durban July where he thrashed the points table leader, Puerto Manzano. He is entered in the Champions Cup, but even if he loses there does not look to be any other horse who can usurp him from his champion elect status.
The Equus Champion Miler has been wrapped up by Charles Dickens, who is one-one in Gr 1 wfa miles with Al Muthana and he also won the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas and the Gr 2 WSB Mile.
Charles Dickens is also favourite to take the Equus Champion Three-year-old Male award, but it could all change if See It Again wins the Champions Cup. Charles Dickens does have an unassailable lead on the points table, but if See It Again wins the Champions Cup it will put him 3-2 ahead in Gr 1 wins and he will also join Charles Dickens as the winner of an open Gr 1 wfa event. Charles Dickens has won a Gr 2 and a Gr 3 on top of his two Gr 1 wins and has also had two Gr 1 runner up finishes, while See It Again has won a Listed race and has a Gr 1 and Gr 2 runner up finish on top of his Gr 1 sucesses.
The three-year-old male award might also decide the Horse Of The Year award so is going to be full of intrigue.
The Equus Three-year-old female award should be taken by Make It Snappy. She won the Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas and the Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes against older females and she is well clear on the points table. No other filly in this category has won two Gr 1s, although Bless My Stars did win the Gr 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic and was third in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July.
The Champion Stayer award is still up for grabs with the World Pool Gold Cup still to come.
Future Pearl looks the favourite to take it. He won the Gr 3 WSB Gold Bowl easily and the Gr 3 DSTV Gold Vase just as easily and is joint second on the points table. The leader of the points table is Salvator Mundi, winner of the only Gr 2 staying race in the country. Salvator Mundi is not a reliable performer but if he wins the Gold Cup he will be an automatic choice.
Trip Of Fortune leads the Champion Older male category as he has won a Gr 1 wfa mile as well as two Gr 2s and a Gr 3. He can possibly add the Gr 1 Champions Cup. However, Gimme A Prince has won two Gr 1 sprints and if he wins the Mercury Sprint he might become favourite to win the award as the only winner of three Gr 1s in the category. Puerto Manzano won both of Joburg’s biggest races, both Gr 1s, so is also in contention.