2022 Australian Horse of the Year Winners Announced

01 February 2023 | Adam Hamilton
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CHAMPION pacer King Of Swing’s greatness has gone to another level even in retirement.

The Kiwi-bred, who had a long stint in WA before becoming Australasia’s champion pacer in NSW, was this week crowned Australian Harness Horse of the Year for a record-equalling third time.

King Of Swing is just the third pacer to win the title in three successive years, joining Hall of Famers in Im Themightyquinn (2011, ’12 & ’13) and Our Sir Vancelot (1997, ’98 & ’99).

And he is only the fifth horse to win to be awarded the crown three times. The others are pacing greats Blacks A Fake (2007, ’08 & ’09) and Westburn Grant (1989, ’91 & ’92).

The most remarkable aspect of King Of Swing’s latest title is that he raced just four times for four wins last season, but three of those were at Group 1 level, including the huge Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile double.

In contrast, he won 11 races when crowned Australian Harness Horse of the Year during the two previous seasons.

King Of Swing retired to Cobbitty Equine for stud duties with 44 wins and earnings of $3,390,546. He is the only pacer to win both the Miracle Mile and Hunter Cup twice.

As well as winning Australian harness racing’s ultimate title, King Of Swing was also last season’s Australian Pacer of the Year and Aged Pacing/Horse of the Year.

Sidelined superstar Ladies In Red was justly awarded the Aged Pacing Mare of the Year in a season where she beat the boys for the first time in the Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park and raced seven times for five wins, two seconds and banked $327,020.

Her overall record of 22 wins from just 27 starts and the way she’s won some major races have drawn deserved comparisons with Australia’s greatest mares of all-time.

And, pleasingly, owners Bill and Anne Anderson plan to bring her back to racing later this year when she’s fully recovered from her injury.

We are blessed with some awesome young pacing talent, especially in three-year-old ranks with Leap To Fame and Captain Ravishing.

But it was Leap To Fame’s dominance through 2021 when he won nine of his 12 starts, including the big treble of the Victoria, NSW and Queensland Derbys, which emphatically won him the 3YO Pacing Colt/Gelding of the Year title.

It was great to see some South Australian flavour in the awards with the Tyson Linke owned-and-bred Encipher, who won eight of her 10 starts last season, winning the 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year crown.

Unbeaten WA gelding Never Ending, who six races in his freshman season, was 2YO Pacing Colt/Gelding of the year, while Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Major Delight, also unbeaten in nine runs, being the 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year.

Trainer Andy Gath continued his great record in the Australian Trotter of the Year award when Majestuoso was awarded the title for winning seven races in 2022, including the Great Southern Star, and finishing a close second in the Inter Dominion final.

Gath has won three of the past four titles with retired champion Tornado Valley dominating in 2019 and ’20.

Star trotting mare Queen Elida took out the Aged Trotting Mare title for trainer Brent Lilley after a stunning first year in the open class ranks in which she did not miss a placing in the season.

The powerhouse Yabby Dams team won two trotting awards with Cravache Dor (3YO Trotting Colt/Gelding) and Egret (3YO Trotting Filly).

Muscle Mass colt The Locomotive dominated the 2YO Trotting Colt/Gelding award with nine wins from 12 starts, while the exciting Rockinwithattitude was in a league of her own in the 2YO Trotting Fillies division with nine wins from 14 starts.

Full winners listing below:

Australian Harness Horse of the Year   King of Swing NZ
Australian Pacer of the Year   King of Swing NZ
Aged Pacing Horse/Gelding of the Year   King of Swing NZ
2YO Pacing Filly of the Year   Major Delight
2YO Pacing Colt/Gelding of the year   Never Ending
3YO Pacing Filly of the Year   Encipher
3YO Pacing Colt/Gelding of the Year   Leap to Fame
Aged Pacing Mare of the Year   Ladies In Red
Australian Trotter of the Year   Majestuoso NZ
2YO Trotting Filly of the Year   Rockinwithattitude
2YO Trotting Colt/Gelding of the year   The Locomotive
3YO Trotting Filly of the Year   Egret
3YO Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year   Cravache Dor
Aged Horse/Gelding Trotter of the Year   Majestuoso NZ
Aged Trotting Mare of the Year   Queen Elida NZ

 

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