Smolda named Aussie horse of year


Kiwi-trained warrior Smolda has been named Australian harness horse-of-the-year.

The award caps off an amazing career for the recently-retired Smolda, with his 2016-17 eight-year-old season highlighted by wins in the Inter-Dominion grand final and the South Australian and Ballarat Cups.

Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and predominantly driven by Purdon, Smolda (four Aust wins last season, $A929,000) retired as the sixth richest Australasian-bred pacer of all time ($2.5 million).

Smolda, by the recently-deceased stallion and former champion Courage Under Fire, also won the pacer-of-the-year title.

The Purdon-trained Piccadilly Princess (five wins, $209,000) was aged mare-of-the-year, while gun stablemate Vincent (seven wins, $264,000) was male three-year-old.

Wobelee became the first two-year-old trotter to win Australian trotter-of-the-year. His record-breaking year included four Group Ones, 10 wins from 12 starts and $180,330.

Kiwi-owned mare Sunny Ruby (four wins, $132,000) was named aged trotting mare-of-the-year, while Breeders Crown-winning Renezmae (two wins, $55,000) was two-year-old filly-of-the-year.

The HRA awards are voted on by over 60 judges, including media and administrators.

Other winners:

Pacing: 3YO Filly: Petacular; 2YO Filly: Nostra Villa; 2YO Male: Lumineer.

Trotting: Aged male trotter: Thunder Road; 3YO filly: Une Belle Allure; 3YO male: Magicool.