And the winner is … The Champion Awards Judging Panel has elected the final nominees for The Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards 2018-19. Notice how Beauty Generation is out on his own in the Miler category – @HongKong_Racing
The Jockey Club announced the finalists for its Champion Awards this week and the winners just seem to pick themselves.
The six judges (Jockey Club trio Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Nigel Gray and Bill Nader alongside three members from the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists in Carlos Wu, Cheung Kam Yau and Simon Leung) would have enjoyed the quickest meeting in years – the answers are straightforward.
Here are the nominations:
Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning
Champion Middle-Distance Horse
Exultant, Glorious Forever and Furore
Exultant and Ho Ho Khan
Champion’s Way, Golden Sixty, Aethero, Voyage Warrior and Tornado Twist
Let’s go through it category by category.
Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning are the two stand-out sprinters and the scoreboard reads two Group Ones to one, respectively, so the former accounts for the latter. Easy.
The panel wins a lot of respect for not even bothering to put up an alternative to Beauty Generation as Champion Miler.
He’s the first horse to win eight races in a Hong Kong season, collected four Group Ones and is clearly the best horse in town – his achievements are unrivalled.
John Moore’s superstar will be named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive time and he absolutely deserves it. Thanks for not wasting everyone’s time.
Glorious Forever was stunning when winning the Longines Hong Kong Cup but didn’t really fire a shot in four starts in 2019. Furore was terrific taking out the BMW Hong Kong Derby, but doesn’t have much else going for him (in this category – he won the Classic Mile as well, but that doesn’t count).
Exultant captured the Hong Kong Gold Cup, finished second in the FWD QE II Cup (beating his two rivals), won the Group Three Centenary Vase and came second in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup.
His record over the mandated distances for the Champion Middle-Distance Horse (1,800m to below 2,200m) is clearly superior. Which leads us to …
Champion Stayer. After giving praise for not including nominees with a zero per cent chance of beating Beauty Generation in the Champion Miler category, we have to go the other way here.
There are two Group Ones held at Sha Tin that apply to this section – the Hong Kong Vase and the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup, both run at 2,400m.
Exultant won both of them and it is his award. No reasonable person could create an argument to give it to Ho Ho Khan (who is a really nice staying prospect).
He had one race over the prescribed trip and won the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup. Exultant is clearly the second-best horse in Hong Kong. Compare the pair. Maybe organisers just needed to fill up another table at the function *insert shrugging emoji*.
There are five promising types up for Champion Griffin (two or three-year-olds who arrived in Hong Kong unraced this season) – and once again the winner is straightforward, even if it is a hot field this year.
Golden Sixty is undefeated after three starts and looks a serious animal, Tornado Twist completed a hat-trick of wins earlier this season, Voyage Warrior has sparked comparisons to Sacred Kingdom and boom sprinter Aethero might end up being the best of the lot.
But Champion’s Way has more than doubled his rating – going from 52 to 108 with six victories (and a second) from seven starts, culminating with his success in the Group Three Lion Rock Trophy. He’s a gun and the trophy is his.
So there you go – the winners of the 2018-19 Champion Awards – and you didn’t even have to wait until the big dinner on Friday, July 12.