Multiple Group One winner Sharp ‘N’ Smart was crowned SENZ Horse of the Year at the 2022-23 New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Horse of the Year Awards in Auckland on Sunday night.
The Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained gelding had a standout three-year-old season, winning the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), Gr.1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) and Gr.2 Gloaming Stakes (1600m), and earned more than $3 million in prizemoney.
The son of Redwood edged out top mare Imperatriz by two votes, with five other horses receiving at least one of the 58 votes cast for SENZ Horse of the Year.
Between them, Sharp ‘N’ Smart and Imperatriz attracted 79 percent of the votes this year, with Prowess the next most popular, with eight votes.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart was purchased out of Westbury Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft by Graeme Rogerson for $55,000. Fortunately for his connections, he failed to make his $90,000 reserve when offered at the New Zealand Bloodstoxk Ready to Run Sale later that year.
Rogerson remains a part-owner, as is Sharp ‘N’ Smart’s breeder, Gerry Harvey, along with Merv and Meg Butterworth, Todd Bawden, Craig Leishman, and Martin Waddy.
Sharp ‘N’ Smart was also named Champion Three-Year-Old, while Prowess won the Champion Middle-Distance Horse category and Pennyweka claimed Champion stayer, with Sharp ‘N’ Smart the runner-up in the latter two categories.
Imperatriz, who won the Gr.2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on Saturday, dominated the voting for Champion Sprinter-Miler and her stablemate Tokyo Tycoon won the Champion Two-year-old category by a wide margin.
West Coast, who was unbeaten over fences last season and was duly Champion Jumper.
Commentator George Simon, who has had a variety of roles within the industry, received the NZTR Outstanding Contribution to Racing Award and New Zealand Bloodstock’s Mike Kneebone, who has played a key role in attracting overseas buyers to the Karaka horse sales, was recognised with the NZTR Outstanding Global Achievement Award.
Mark Walker, who set a new mark for domestic training wins last season, was crowned Trainer of the Year, while Michael McNab retained his Jockey of the Year title, and Shaun Fannin won Jumps Jockey of the Year for a fourth time.
Ancroft Stud principals Catherine and Phillip Brown, who are the majority shareholders in multiple Group One winners Legarto and Levante, were named Owners of the Year. Legarto and Levante recorded seven wins and four placings from 13 attempts, including four Group One wins, and earned more than $1.7 million in stakes.
There was further recognition for their connections on Sunday night, with strapper Megan Winter named Stablehand of the Year and trainers Bev and Ken Kelso were finalists for Trainer of the Year.
Jockeys’ Premiership: Michael McNab
Trainers’ Premiership: Mark Walker
Apprentice Jockeys’ Premiership: Tayla Mitchell
Owners’ Premiership: Brendan & Jo Lindsay
Newcomer To Training – sponsored by gavelhouse.com: Shaun Phelan
LOVERACING.NZ Award for Contribution to Media, Digital & Content: Jones Road Productions
Other finalists: Aidan Rodley, Kirsty Lawrence, Louis Herman-Watts (SENZ). Paxton Conder (Dunstan Horsefeeds)
New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year: Legarto
Champion Two-Year-Old: Tokyo Tycoon (45)
Other finalists: Ulanova (11), Pignan (2), Trobriand (1), Zourion
Champion Three-Year-Old – Sponsored by IRT: Sharp ‘N’ Smart (33)
Other finalists: Prowess (13), Legarto (10), Pennyweka (1), Pier (1)
Champion Sprinter-Miler (up to 1600m): Imperatriz (56).
Other finalists: Legarto (3), Levante (1), He’s A Doozy, La Crique, Prise De Fer
Champion Middle Distance Horse (1601m-2200m): Prowess (40)
Other finalists: Sharp ‘N’ Smart (20), Defibrillate, Mustang Valley
Champion Stayer (2201m & further): Pennyweka (29)
Other finalists: Sharp ‘N’ Smart (25), Aquacade (2), Platinum Invador (1), Dionysus
Champion Jumper: West Coast (41)
Other finalists: The Cossack (19), Happy Star (1), Suliman
Stablehand of the Year – Sponsored by Entain Australia & New Zealand: Megan Winter (northern area, employed by Ken & Bev Kelso)
Other finalists: Amy Clifford (Central), Katie Readings (southern).
Jockey of the Year – Sponsored by TAB: Michael McNab (48)
Other finalists: Ryan Elliot (6), Opie Bosson (3)
Jumps Jockey of the Year – Sponsored by Happy Hire: Shaun Fannin (56)
Other finalist: Shaun Phelan (5)
Trainer of the Year – Sponsored by Dunstan Horsefeeds: Mark Walker (53)
Other finalists: Ken & Bev Kelso (5), Lisa Latta (2)
Owner of the Year – Sponsored by TAB NZ: Catherine & Phillip Brown (36)
Other finalists: Brendan & Jo Lindsay (10), Waikato Stud (8), Gerry Harvey (3), Dean Skipper (2), JML Bloodstock (1), Barneswood Farm, Clearview Park, Kevin Myers, The Oaks Stud, Allan & Marie Tyler
NZTR Award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing: George Simon
NZTR Award for Outstanding Global Achievement: Mike Kneebone
SENZ Horse of the Year: Sharp ‘N’ Smart (24 votes)
Also: Imperatriz (22), Prowess (8), Legarto (1), Pennyweka (1), The Cossack (1), Tokyo Tycoon (1)