The WAROA Gala Awards Night was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt last Saturday night, August 4 with 463 in attendance, a new record for the night and only one short of absolute capacity.
This year for the first time the TBAWA, which is the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of WA, were invited to present their Awards at our function. In the past they have been presented at a function held in February on the eve of the Magic Millions Yearling Sales which is between six and seven months after the season has finished.
The three Awards presented were for the broodmare of the year, the sire of the year and the breeder of the year and the winners were as follows
Express A Smile (broodmare of the year) due mainly to the exploits of Sea Siren which won two G1’s during the season.
Blackfriars was the sire of the year with dominant performers in Rohan, Pop Culture, Playing God and God has Spoken.
It followed then that Durham Lodge was breeder of the year as they stand Blackfriars.
There is no doubt the Breeders enjoyed being part of the night and to be recognized by the Industry and their peers on a glittering and spectacular occasion was much appreciated.
As well the normal WAROA Awards were presented for 2yo, 3yo and 4yo+ and these were won by Luke’s Luck (2yo), Rohan (3yo) and Luckygray (4yo+). The 3yo of the year was a tight contest between Rohan and King Saul and was the subject of a lot of discussion however Rohan was a majority winner in quite a conclusive result.
The leading apprentice jockey (Ryan Hill), leading jockey (William Pike) and leading trainer (Adam Durrant) were presented with their trophies and it was great to see Ryan’s parents who had come from the UK at the function; he did the right thing by them by riding Ten Aces to victory on the Saturday.
As expected Luckygray won the Perth Racing Horse of the Year and we all wish him well in his Eastern States foray.
That would be normally the extent of the official presentations but when you are presented with an opportunity to display the 2012 Melbourne Cup one cannot let that pass. The timing on this was very tight as they were on the plane at 11.55 pm to fly to Sydney and then onto Muswellbrook for Sunday afternoon. It was interesting that it had been to Lancelin, Geraldton and Gingin during the week but there had been no news of that in any of the media, Press or TV , which did surprise us somewhat.
We also took the opportunity to honour Northerly with his induction in to the WAROA legends; he makes number three with the previous inductees being Miss Andretti and Max Simmonds who I see is on the short list for induction in to the WA Hall of Fame.
For me this was the highlight of the night especially with the fact it was kept as a complete surprise other than Neville Duncan knowing. I was speaking to Fred at Belmont yesterday and it was obvious he was very touched with the tribute paid to the best horse that has ever come from Western Australia. When you look at his record of 37 starts for 19 wins, seven seconds and two thirds for stakes of $9.3 million, 9 Group 1 wins, 6 Group 2 wins a Group 3 and two Listed races it is unbelievable.
I think it was nice for all of us to be reminded again how good he was and my strong personal view, and I stress personal, is that there should be statue of him at Ascot, the scene of his first G1 victory in the 2000 Railway Stakes.
The night started with the boarding call for the WAROA flight to Dubai ; everybody present was given the opportunity to go in the draw for the door prize which was a trip for two to Dubai for the 2013 Dubai World Cup with the trip and accommodation provided by Emirates Airlines and Motive Travel.
Actually it is only when you sit down and write a report on the function that you realise how much went on during the night starting with the belly dancers, one with a live snake twirled around her neck, the henna tattooist in the foyer area, the comedian Paul Martell who had everybody in stitches, Paula Parore, from The Voice and Nell Simpson the aerialist.
As well we auctioned 9 stallion services, 3 of which were booked out, and five trips. I think the show started at 7.15 and the band played their first set at 10.40 so it was full on for close on 3.5 hours.
The feedback from any persons I have spoken to has been fantastic; everybody had a great night. The only difficulty we have is for 2013; how do we better that.