Think it Over winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes
As we all know the horse racing industry the only thing that is one hundred percent certain is that nothing is nailed on. Trainers, owners, jockeys and of course the runners are put through their paces each year to see who can achieve the best result and 2021/22 was no exception.
We take a look through our highlights on what proved to be another unforgettable year in the Australian Horse Racing Industry and pick out some of the best moments.
You could pick out 100 different moments this season to kick us off but we’re going to start in South Australia and the achievements of Richard and Chantelle Jolly.
Stand out Trainers - South Australian Trainer Premiership Winners
We start off with one of the most recent outcomes of the season in that of Richard and Chantelle Jolly winning the South Australian Trainers Premiership. The win was recorded in the history books as the partnership became the first father and daughter training duo to win a trainers premiership in the state and across Australia as a whole.
The pairing of Richard and Chantelle sent a total of 330 runners to the track in the 2021/22 season of which 69 returned winners across metro and provincial tracks and returned an impressive $2.5m in prize money.
For father Richard he was understandably pumped after winning his first trainers premiership in 22 years especially with his daughter Chantelle.
“It’s been a while coming but it’s a proud moment for sure, to share this with Chantelle, the rest our family and all our staff and clients which is really special,’’
Previously Jolly had been quoted as saying that he had been unable to compete for the trainers premiership due the number of runners in the stable however since the addition of Chantelle to the training ranks the Jolly outfit have been able to grow there number of runners and collect a number of black type race titles along the way.
Most recently the pair watched 3 year old Aitch Two Oh win the Group 3 Without Fear Stakes (formerly the Queen Adelaide Stakes) at Morphettville when winning out in a hard fought contest with Winning Revolution.
The Jolly’s went into partnership in 2018 and within five years the father and daughter duo have been able to deliver a South Australian Trainers Premiership.
Best Ride - Think It Over Wins The Queen Elizabeth Stakes
From South Australia we head to New South Wales and back to the Autumn Carnival where we saw a complete boil-over in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes when Nash Rawiller produced quite possibly the ride of the year to win the Group One contest.
It was billed as potentially the race of the century as big names Verry Elleegant and Zaaki finally faced off against each other on home turf. They were joined by powerful cult Anamoe who had finished in the placings in the Cox Plate during Spring and Duais who had been on a tear for the Edward Cummings stable.
Those big four as they were labeled were hotly favoured in betting with then only separated by $2.20 in the market. Meanwhile Think It Over sat as $41 chance and little consideration was given to the 6yo gelding.
The race unfolded like any other, with runners jostling for position while Zaaki took up the running in front. It wasn’t until the final bend where Nash Rawiller would produce the ride of his life to claim the $4m prize money.
At the 400m while the rest of the field made tracks down the middle of the track Rawiller took Think It Over to the standside rail and visibly lost 2 or 3 lengths on the leader who continued to be Zaaki with little else making any impression.
Let’s be honest at this point most people were wondering what he was up to. Me included. However it proved to be an absolute genius move as Rawiller found the better ground along with the rails support for Think It Over to steam home late and claim Zaaki late to win the Group One feature.
The rest of the field appeared to toil in the heavy going but conditions proved perfect for one runner as Think It Over put a number of Group One winners to the sword on a day where the real talents were expected to emerge.
History Making Moment - Equalling The Mighty Makybe Diva
Another record breaking moment in the Autumn, or at least record equaling was when Edward Cummings trained Duais replicated a feat only previously achieved by the mighty Makybe Diva.
Duais was the first mare since Makybe Diva to win both the Australian Cup and Tancred Stakes in the same season and in doing so etched her name amongst the elite of Australian Racing.
The rise to fame was pretty meteoric for the 5 year old having had a quiet Spring followed by starting the Autumn with a number of midfield placings in Group One and Black Type races. The rise in distance seemed to do the trick though as Duais would relish the 2000m at Flemington in the Australian Cup.
In a quickly run contest Duais exposed the field carrying 57kgs beating home big names like Think It Over and recent import Spanish Mission to victory by two lengths. Knowing history was on the line Cummings would chase the Tancred Stakes next and again Duais would prove too strong once again when winning by over 3 lengths at Randwick.
The double would equal the feat achieved by three time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva who became the first mare to win the Australian Cup and Tancred Stakes in 2005. It would put Duais on course for a showdown with Zaaki and Verry Elleegant in the QEII stakes but would ultimately fall short after an already historic campaign.
Over Achiever - Shelby SixtySix
Another immense moment for racing fans in the 21/22 racing season was the rise from rags to riches of Shelby SixtySix trained by New South Wales Provincial trainer Danny Williams.
It was almost a fairy tale how Shelby Sixty had been kicking around the lower grades at the Provincials without showing much sign of talent or drive on the big time. His Spring consisted of finishing down the track in a Class 3 Highway Handicap and a Benchmark 72 at Warwick Farm which hardly screams Group One competition does it?
When it came to the Autumn Shelby SixtySix was hardly ticking boxes again before a runner up placing at the Sapphire Coast prompted trainer Danny Williams to send his runner to town once again.
At this point Shelby SixtySix had been at the races 6 out of 7 weekends and had been affectionately nicknamed ‘Party Boy’ due to him always being out and never being at home.
What really made punters take notice of the Party Boy from the Bush was his strong finish behind Eduardo in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes where he finished ahead of three time TJ Smith winner, Nature Strip.
From there, a horse that had been finishing nowhere in a BM72 just two months earlier would get a taste for the big time when registering his first black type success in the Maurice McCarten Stakes quickly followed by Group One success in the Galaxy on Golden Slipper day.
After the race trainer Danny Williams was very open about how the horse nicknamed ‘Party Boy’ had effectively saved the stable with crippling debts and ongoing bills seemingly overflowing.
The rest as they say was history with horse racing fans designating Shelby SixtySix a cult hero in Australian racing after seeing a real rags to riches story playing out.
Most Consistent Performer - Incentivise’s Group One Spring
When looking at standout performers, moments or races its hard to look past the achievements of Incentivise who had torn up the Queensland Winter Carnival and was expected to smash up the Victorian Spring. He duly obliged.
Over the course of the winter Incentivise had moved from part owner and trainer Steve Tregea’s Queensland Stable and under the conditioning of Peter Moody at his Pakenham base in Victoria where he would prepare for Spring. Questions were asked whether that Sunshine State form was transferable and Incentivise made sure people knew it was after each race.
He started off with a win in the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes defeating Young Werther and Sir Dragonet by a narrow margin. He would then clock up his second Group One success in the Group One Turnbull Stakes over 2000m where he would once again defeat Young Werther by half a length.
Clicking up in distance however Incentivise began to look better and better and it was his almost arrogant display in the Caulfield Cup that gave punters a memory for the ages when travelling wide the whole of the 2400m trip and releasing a devastating turn of foot to claim victory by over 3.5 lengths.
It was a huge win for Incentivise and the Moody / Tregea training team who despite being $2.30 favourites to win the race on the day delivered a Winx worthy display by overcoming a wide barrier draw and trip to deliver a huge burst of speed late to destroy a strong Caulfield Cup field.
He would ultimately fall short on completely an impressive quadruple of Group One wins when finishing second to a huge performance in the Melbourne Cup.
Best Training Display - Verry Elleegant’s Melbourne Cup Win
Our final moment of the year was the feel good factor of Verry Elleegant winning the Melbourne Cup under the ride of James McDonald for trainer Chris Waller.
After Winx, Very Elleegant had quickly become trainer Chris Waller’s Golden Girl and it was a perfect training display that took the Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner up to the next level of winning the race that stops a nation.
In the build up many were focused on the WS Cox Plate and a showdown between in form horse Zaaki and Verry Elleegant. No one expected the Waller runner to be in contention for the Melbourne Cup at $17 in betting.
It was a huge run by the 7 year old and it felt like one of those races where as a racing fan you didn’t feel so bad about losing to Verry Elleegant if you hadn’t backed her. It was one of those rare feel good moments and a great way to end the Spring Carnival.