Racing: Monbet beats pacers for top harness award

By Michael Guerin

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

Our best trotters may not be able to beat the elite pacers on the track anymore but they can still defeat them at the ballot box.

Monbet has proved that with a slightly surprising Horse of the Year win at harness racing's annual awards in Christchurch, downing Have Faith In Me 15-12 for the industry's supreme award.

The pair were near unanimous winners of their respective trotter and pacer of the year titles but the fact Monbet raced far deeper into the season and won seven group ones tipped voters toward him.

His victory capped a great night for trainers and part owners Greg and Nina Hope, with their juvenile trotter Enghien winning 2-year-old male trotter and Quite A Moment successful in the aged trotting mare of the year.

Many of the awards were clean sweeps, with Dream About Me, Marcoola, Master Lavros, Spanish Armada, More The Better and Lazarus scoring all the votes in their age group categories.

There were few surprises, with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trainers of the year for winning the premiership, Dexter Dunn scoring his now regulation driver of the year success and Brad Williamson won junior driver of the season. Northern-based Erin Isherwood won cadet of the year.

Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth, who own a huge string of horses in New Zealand, won owners of the year, their highlight coming with Arden Rooney in the New Zealand Cup.

Woodlands Stud had a successful night, winning breeder of the year, their champion stallion Bettors Delight winning his division and Splendid Dreams taking the broodmare award.

Love You won trotting stallion, while Diedre Darling won the trotting broodmare award.

Retiring HRNZ chairman Gary Allen won the outstanding contribution award.

- NZ Herald

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