Majestic Man Otago horse of year

By Jonny Turner

Majestic Man was crowned Otago Horse Of The Year on Saturday night following his breakout season in the open trotting ranks.

The Phil Williamson-trained squaregaiter was crowned 4yr-old male trotter of the year before claiming the top prize at the Otago Harness Racing Awards at Forbury Park.

Williamson took home a boot-load of trophies, including trainer of the year.

Liberty Stride, (3yr-old trotting filly), Kenny's Dream (4yr-old trotting mare), and Jen Jaccka (aged trotting mare) each won their categories for the Oamaru trainer.

Williamson stables drivers and fiances, Matthew Williamson and Charlotte Purvis, won driver of the year and junior driver of the year, respectively.

Williamson was denied another win by his son, Brad, when Cracker Hill edged out Ultimate Stride in the 2yr-old trotting category.

Three stalwarts of the Otago harness racing industry were recognised with significant contribution awards on Saturday night.

Graeme Mee was acknowledged for his lengthy service as clerk of the course at several of the province's harness tracks.

North Taieri trainer-driver Craig Buchan also took home a significant contribution award for his nearly 40-year contribution to the Otago industry.

Popular Central Otago horseman Bryan "Ginger" Woodhouse was recognised for his 60 years as a trainer, driver, owner, breeder and administrator.

Ultimate Sniper beat out a star-studded line-up to win best Otago-owned horse of the year.

The two-time Derby winner beat racetrack stars Eamon Maguire, Havtime, Majestic Man, Princess Tiffany and Speeding Spur.

Foreal knocked off an equally impressive line-up to win the broodmare excellence award.

The dam of Australasia's fastest ever pacer, Field Marshal, won the category over Bethany, Fleet's Pocket and One Over Kenny.

Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight enjoyed a successful evening at Saturday night's awards.

Their pacers The Ideal Touch (2yr-old male pacer), Candidasa (4yr-old male pacer) and Sounds Bettor (aged pacing mare) collected titles.

One of the most popular victories of the night came when Waikouaiti warhorse Alexy won the aged male pacer of the year.

Forbury Park trainer, Darryn Simpson, who trained Alexy to one of his three wins last season, was crowned Otago's strike rate trainer of the year.

Other category winners included Motu Top Mach (3yr-old male pacer), Tango Dancer (3yr-old pacing filly) and Count Eyre (3yr-old male trotter).

Thoroughbred training great Dave O'Sullivan was warmly received as the guest speaker at the awards evening.

The 12-time national champion trainer gave Saturday night's crowd an insight into his own career and those of his sons, Paul and Lance.

O'Sullivan also reminisced and spoke about the careers of former top line gallopers Horlicks, Mr Tiz and Waverly Star.

 

Full winners list 

2yr-old male pacers

The Ideal Touch.

 

2yr-old male trotters

Cracker Hill

 

3yr-old male pacers

Motu Top Mach

 

3yr-old pacing fillies

Tango Dancer

 

3yr-old male trotters

Count Eyre

 

3yr-old trotting fillies

Liberty Stride

 

4yr-old male pacers

Candidasa

 

4yr-old pacing mares

Kotare Elite

 

4yr-old male trotters

Majestic Man

 

4yr-old trotting mares

Kenny's Dream

 

5yr-old and older male pacers

Alexy

 

5yr-old and older pacing mares

Sounds Bettor,.

 

5yr-old and older trotter.

Monty Python

 

5yr-old and older trotting mares

Jen Jaccka

 

Letty Ferguson Memorial Award for most improved mare

Sounds Bettor 

 

Best Otago Owned Horse

Ultimate Sniper.

 

Broodmare Excellence Award

Foreal.

 

Breeders Of The Year

Lex and Heather Williams

 

Trainer of the year

Phil Williamson

 

Strike rate trainer of the year

Darryn Simpson

 

Driver of the year 

Matthew Williamson

 

Junior driver of the year

Charlotte Purvis

 

Significant contribution to Otago Harness Racing

Graeme Mee

Craig Buchan

Ginger Woodhouse

 

Otago Horse Of The Year

Majestic Man

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