Just 32 days of domination were enough to earn Ultimate Sniper the harness horse of the year award in one of the tightest votes in the award's history.
The Inter Dominion champion won New Zealand harness racing highest honour by one vote over stablemate Amazing Dream, 11-10, announced at a restricted function at Addington last night.
Ultimate Sniper was a comet in the night sky of racing, burning brightly from New Zealand Cup day when he stunned in a free-for-all until just over a month later when he completed a clean sweep of the Alexandra Park Inter Dominions.
Ultimate Sniper was sidelined with a leg issue soon after but is back in work, albeit with the New Zealand Cup not in his plans.
He held off Woodlands Derby-winning filly Amazing Dream by the barest of margins, with Inter Dominion Trotting champ Winterfell the only other horse to get a vote for the horse of the year.
There were plenty of dominant winners including Cruz Bromac (aged male), Amazing Dream (3-y-o filly), Belle Of Montana (4-yo mare), Bettors Heart (aged mare) Krug (2-y-o male) and Shes No Lady (2-y-o filly) in the pacing ranks and trotters Winterfell (aged male), Pretty Majestic (aged mare), Oscar Bonavena (4-y-o male), Time Up The Hill (2-y-o filly), Vacation Hill (3-y-o filly).
But there were also close contests for the four-year-old trotting mare, popularly won by Overzealous, while Eurokash was voted top juvenile trotter in a crop that barely raced.
The greatest rarity though was two shared awards, with One Change and Copy That both securing 11 votes in the three-year-old male pacer and Ultimate Stride and Cracker Hill dead-heating in the three-year-old trotting male.
Both Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride are heading to Alexandra Park next month for the re-scheduled three-year-old trotting races from last season.
Meanwhile, Self Assured will head to Oamaru for the Hannon Memorial this Sunday after blowing the start in the New Brighton Cup at Addington last Friday.
The NZ Cup favourite cost punters a fortune when galloping badly and losing all chance, convincing trainer Mark Purdon to place him on the unruly.
"We will see how he handles starting from there before we decide if he remains on the unruly for the Cup (November 10)," said Purdon.
"But after missing away last week he didn't have a race so he will head to Oamaru, as will Spankem."