Matamata trainer Jamie Richards is poised to make an impact at the 2019 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) yesterday announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories. The finalists for Champion Jumper will be announced later this month.

Richards, 29, is in his first season as a solo trainer and prepares a quarter of the 20 flat finalists. The Te Akau Racing stable provides three of the four finalists — Aotea Lad, Probabeel and Yourdeel — in the 2-year-old section and will be represented by Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark in the sprinter-miler category. Melody Belle is also a middle-distance finalist.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Lisa Latta, Tony Pike and Michael and Matthew Pitman are other trainers with more than one flat finalist.

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Melody Belle is in two categories of finalists in the Horse of the Year awards. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
Melody Belle is in two categories of finalists in the Horse of the Year awards. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

All finalists are eligible for the Horse of the Year title, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at the Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday, September 8. The flat racing finalists are:

Champion 2-Year-Old: Aotea Lad, Aretha, Probabeel, Yourdeel.

Champion 3-Year-Old: Crown Prosecutor, Madison County, Media Sensation, Sentimental Miss, Surely Sacred.

Champion Sprinter-Miler (up to 1600m): Bostonian, Enzo's Lad, Melody Belle, Shadows Cast, Te Akau Shark.

Champion Middle Distance (1601m to 2200m): Danzdanzdance, Melody Belle, On The Rocks, Savvy Coup.

Champion Stayer (2201m and further): Five To Midnight, Glory Days, Rondinella

-NZTR