It was the Bonneval show in Auckland on Sunday night, when the dual Oaks winner dominated the 2017 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.
Bonneval’s connections spent much of the night on stage as the star filly was voted Horse of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year and Stayer of the Year. Her owners were also presented with the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year trophy.
In addition, Bonneval’s trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman (ranked 57th in the world trainer's standings - and top in New Zealand) gained all bar one of the 57 votes cast for Trainer of the Year and Bonneval’s dam, Imposingly, was named Broodmare of the Year.
Bonneval is the first 3-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year since Sunline, in 1999. She is also the fourth successive Horse of the Year winner to be trained by Baker and Forsman, following Dundeel (2014) and Mongolian Khan (2015 and 2016).
At the moment, Bonneval is in Melbourne on a quest to emulate the 2015 G1 Caulfield Cup success of Mongolian Khan. The Melbourne Cup may also be on her agenda. She opened her campaign in outstanding style on Saturday with her first-up victory in the G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes over a mile at Moonee Valley.
As expected, voting for Horse of the Year turned into a three-way battle, though Bonneval won by a comfortable margin, with 27 votes, 12 more than fellow 3-year-old Gingernuts. Kawi, the Middle Distance Horse of the Year, gained ten votes with three for another 3-year-old in Jon Snow.
Bonneval had a smaller margin when beating Gingernuts by six votes in the 3-year-old category, but dominated the stayers’ section with 37 votes, 29 more than Chenille.
A daughter of Makfi, Bonneval was a $150,000 yearling buy for owners Terry Jarvis, Alister Lawrence and John Rattray and is unbeaten from four starts past 1600m. She had seven starts as a 3-year-old and got better as the season progressed. She was a luckless third in the G3 Desert Gold Stakes in January before reeling off four successive group wins.
She won the G2 Sir Tristram Classic and G3 Lowland Stakes before becoming the first filly since 1990 to win both the G1 New Zealand and G1 Australian Oaks. She produced one of the standout performances of the season when winning the Australian Oaks by more than four lengths.
Wellington owner Lib Petagna, who races under the JML Bloodstock banner, won the owners’ premiership and was voted Owner of the Year for the second successive season. Petagna had a great year with the likes of Ugo Foscolo, Saracino, Eleonora, Nicoletta, SofiaRosa and Francaletta. The Australian-trained G1 winner Tivaci also raced in Petagna’s colours.
Manawatu’s Goodwood Stud, which bred Gingernuts, Nicoletta and Order Again, was named Breeder of the Year. Goodwood is the first central districts-based winner of the breeders’ award for more than 20 years.
David Ellis was honoured for a lifetime of achievement in racing when receiving the outstanding contribution award. Ellis has made a mark as a Thoroughbred buyer, owner, syndicator, breeder, administrator and sponsor.
He has been the driving force behind the name Te Akau becoming a global Thoroughbred brand and has established premiership winning stables at both Matamata and Singapore. He has been the leading buyer at the New Zealand national sale for the past 12 years and over that period alone has bought 369 yearlings, at a cost of $64.5 million.
Otaki’s Joanne Roylands was the inaugural winner of the NZTR Strapper of the Year Award, which was sponsored by champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller. Roylands had a long association with Otaki trainer Huia Bishop, who died in July.
2017 Horse of the Year: Bonneval (27 votes)
NZTR Award for Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Racing: David Ellis
Champion Two-Year-Old: Melody Belle (46)
Champion Three-Year-Old: Bonneval (30)
Champion Sprinter: Start Wondering (50)
Champion Middle Distance Horse: Kawi (55)
Champion Stayer: Bonneval (37)
Champion Jumper: Kick Back (36)
Dunstan Trainer of the Year: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman (56)
Jockey of the Year: Chris Johnson (31)
Jumps Jockey of the Year: Aaron Kuru (31)
Owner of the Year: JML Bloodstock (45)
Media Award: Trish Dunell, Trish Dunell Photography (32)
Breeder of the Year: Goodwood Stud (Breeder of Gingernuts, Nicoletta & Order Again)
Broodmare of the Year: Imposingly (dam of Bonneval & Imposing Lass)
Strapper of the Year - sponsored by Chris Waller: Joanne Roylands
Trainers’ Premiership: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
Jockeys’ Premiership: Chris Johnson
Apprentices’ Premiership: Sam Weatherley
Owners’ Premiership: JML Bloodstock
Grosvenor Award: (stallion earnings in NZ): Savabeel
Dewar Trophy: (stallion earnings in New Zealand and Australia): Savabeel
Centaine Award: (Stallion earnings worldwide): Savabeel
NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year: Bonneval