No surprises as Champion Awards go according to form
Sacred Kingdom was not only the champion horse of the season at yesterday's Champion Awards ceremony, but his public gave its stamp of approval, too, in voting him the most popular horse of the season.
There were few surprises as the awards were announced between races in a special on-course ceremony at Sha Tin, and the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Sacred Kingdom led the way with three prizes - Champion Sprinter, Most Popular Horse and Horse Of the Year.
John Moore, whose Viva Pataca was the reigning Horse Of The Year, 12 months ago had predicted a similar honour for Collection, but he had to settle for Champion Middle Distance galloper, while Able One took Champion Miler.
'Although Collection only won twice, he did also run second in the Hong Kong Cup to a top-class European horse in Vision D'Etat and the judges recognised the quality of that performance,' Moore said. 'He can be a funny horse and has days when he just switches off, but he's been brilliant when he has produced his best.'
Moore again confirmed a trip to the Melbourne carnival is in the offing for Able One, awaiting the approval of his owners, Dr and Mrs Cornel Li Fook-kwan. 'The 1,400m Group One at Caulfield and the Toorak Handicap over a mile look ideal races for him and I'd be happy to give the Cox Plate a go as well. Able One's career has been held back several times by injuries but when he's fit, he's shown that he's really top grade,' Moore said.
'I took Super Kid to run in those races in Melbourne a few years ago and he was just touched off in the first two and I've no doubt Able One is up to winning there.'
Champion Stayer went to the Peter Ho Leung-trained Champions & Chater winner Mr Medici and Champion Griffin to Entrapment, but several awards remain in abeyance until after Wednesday night's Happy Valley card, including champion jockey and apprentice.
The race for champion apprentice over in all but the mathematical definition of it, as Keith Yeung Ming-lun leads and can only be knocked off by Derek Leung Ka-chun if the latter rides at least four winners.
The 2008 International Sale bonus for the highest earner from the sale is still to be decided and Entrapment could still be unseated for the Most Improved award for the season. But Tai Sing Yeh will have to win by a huge margin and attract at least a 12-point rise from the handicapper to pass Entrapment's 63-point rating rise.