Elite Invincible walked away with the Singapore Horse of the Year title at the rebranded 2018 Racing Appreciation Night held at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach on Monday night.
Besides claiming the much-coveted award, the Mark Walker-trained Irish-bred also took home the Champion Four-Year-Old and Champion Stayer awards.
The son of Archarcharch exploded onto the scene last year with brilliant victories in the first two Legs of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1400m) and the Group 1 Giovanni Racing Charity Cup (1600m). He was gallant in defeat when runner-up to Jupiter Gold in the third Leg, the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m).
Singapore Turf Club Chairman Mr Lim Joo Boon (left) presents the 2018 Singapore Horse Of The Year
trophy to Elite Invincible's owner Mr Aloysius Chew of Elite Performance Stable.
After a minor health hiccup shortly after, he bounced back later in the year in the pinnacle of staying races, the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2000m).
In the other two age groups, the Steven Burridge-trained Lim’s Lightning and the Lee Freedman-trained Mr Clint were two worthy winners in the two-year-old and three-year-old contests respectively.
Lim’s Lightning stood out from last year’s nursery of “babies”, with his gutsy win in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) the highlight. After creditable warm-up runs in the first two shorter Legs of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, Mr Clint rose to the top in the much more suitable mile Leg in the grand final, the Group 1 Singapore Guineas.
Polytrack specialist Maximus unsurprisingly got the nod for the accolade of the most prolific competitor on the all-weather. With the US-bred’s ratings escalating from 73 to 104 during the year, he also took out the Most Improved Horse award.
After a “sabbatical year” in 2017 (muted first half and the second half spent freshening up in Australia), Cliff Brown’s former 2016 Horse of the Year Debt Collector bounced back to the limelight with the Champion Miler and Champion Older Horse awards. His smashing performances in the first two Legs of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m) and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1900m) were no doubt etched in the judges’ minds when they cast their votes.
The Champion Sprinter title went for the second consecutive year to the Stephen Gray-trained Lim’s Cruiser. A second win in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) was the clincher.
The $1 million sprint feature was incidentally among the many races which contributed to the most prizemoney grossed by Lim’s Cruiser’s owner, the Lim’s Stable, yet again the recipient of the Leading Owner by stakes won award in 2018. It was one of Singapore’s most famous owners, the Lucky Stable, who won Leading Owner by number of wins award.
Australian Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman picked up his first title in Singapore at his first full season after saddling 67 winners, while his fellow countryman Vlad Duric went back-to-back in the jockey category. After beginning his career six years ago, homegrown apprentice jockey Troy See earned a well-deserved Champion Apprentice jockey title for the first time.
The Singapore Turf Club Broadcasting department swept the two Racing Media Awards with the English and Chinese categories going to racing commentators Nicholas Child and Collin Fan respectively.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Champion Older Horse
Champion Polytrack Horse
Most Improved Horse
Racing Media Award (English)
Racing Media Award (Chinese)
Champion Apprentice Jockey
Leading Owner by number of wins
Leading Owner by stakes won
Horse of the Year