TRAINERS believe the race for Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) Horse of the Year is the the most open in years.
The gong for the best-performed racehorse through the 2015-16 season will be presented at the SDRA award nights at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Friday night.
Albury trainer Brett Cavanough’s stable has dominated the award in recent years and he has Steakandbearnaise and Centauro among the finalists.
Cavanough gives SDRA Country Championship heat winner, Steakandbearnaise, some chance in an open year.
“He won almost $60,000 in one race and most of the others probably didn’t win that for the year,” Cavanough said.
“The Country Championships is our region’s biggest race, it’s the signature race as far as SDRA horses go but then he only won the one race, so I’m not sure.
“It’s an open book.”
Steakandbearnaise has since been retired, while Centauro is one of two finalists for the SDRA 2YO of the Year.
Any of the 2YO or 3YO finalists are still eligible to win the open SDRA Horse of the Year title.
Wagga trainer Chris Heywood has two finalists in High Opinion and Mitchell Road.
High Opinion ran second behind Tom Melbourne in the Albury Gold Cup, and went on to win the MTC Country Cup.
Mitchell Road won two races and finished second behind Steakandbearnaise in the SDRA Country Championship Heat.
“I think we’re in there with a chance. Both mine would be live chances,” Heywood said.
“It’s pretty open.”
High Opinion has since been transferred to Kris Lees but injured a tendon after his last-start win at Canterbury.
SDRA Horse of the Year finalists
ATTAINMENT (trainer Todd Smart): Season – 15 starts for 2 wins, 6 seconds, 4 thirds. Highlights: wins at Canberra and Wodonga, placings at Rosehill and Canterbury. Prizemoney: $56,932.
HIGH OPINION (trainer Chris Heywood): Season – 14 starts for 2 wins, 3 seconds. Highlights: win in MTC Country Cup, runner-up in Listed Albury Cup. Prizemoney: $69,795.
MITCHELL ROAD (Trainer Chris Heywood): Season – 10 starts for 2 wins, 3 seconds. Highlights: wins at Albury and Corowa, runner-up in SDRA Country Championship. Prizemoney: $49,190.
STEAKANDBEARNAISE (Trainer Brett Cavanough): Season – 9 starts for 1 win, 1 second. Highlight: win in SDRA Country Championship. Prizemoney: $68,495.
ZERO TO TEN (Trainer Jim Scobie): Season – 11 starts for 3 wins, 1 third. Highlights: win in Snake Gully Cup at Gundagai, SDRA Winter Series Heat at Corowa. Prizemoney: $66,695.
SDRA 3YO of the Year finalists
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED (trainer Geoff Duryea): Season – 7 starts for 2 wins, 2 seconds. Highlights: Win in the MTC Guineas Prelude, seconds in the Albury Guineas and at Moonee Valley. Prizemoney: $62,925.
GENTLEMAN MAX (trainer Trevor Sutherland): Season – 28 starts for 5 wins, 5 seconds, 7 thirds. Highlights: Wins at Albury (2) Corowa (2), Canberra. Prizemoney: $103,275.
NOBLE DESCENT (trainer Gary Colvin): Season – 10 starts for 3 wins, 1 second. Highlights: Wins at Wagga (2) and Albury. Prizemoney: $44,740.
VINNIE VEGA (trainer Kym Davison): Season – 15 starts for 5 wins, 2 seconds. Highlights: Winds at Albury (3), Wagga and Corowa. Prizemoney: $84,430.
SDRA 2YO of the Year finalists
CENTAURO (trainer Brett Cavanough): Season – 3 starts for 1 win, 1 second, 1 third. Highlight win at Wagga. Prizemoney: $12,525.
MR HUMMUN BEE (trainer Trevor Sutherland): Season – 9 starts for 2 wins, 1 third. Highlights: Wins at Wagga and Corowa. Prizemoney: $30,845.