Auckland Racing Club (ARC) today announced the winners of their annual Ellerslie Awards with Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner, Rocket Spade, taking out top honours in being named Ellerslie Horse of the Year.
The awards, announced at a special function for Club members as part of today’s aptly-named Awards Raceday, recognise the horses, trainers and jockeys that have performed to the highest level at Ellerslie over the season with winners selected by either their strike rate oncourse, industry or public vote.
This year’s winners were:
Horse of the Year*
Rocket Spade | Winner of the SkyCity Auckland Guineas, AJC Avondale Guineas and Vodafone New Zealand Derby
Apprentice Jockey of the Year**
Joe Kamaruddin (apprenticed to Te Akau Racing)
Jockey of the Year**
Opie Bosson and Troy Harris (tied)
Trainer of the Year**
Performance of the Year***
Melody Belle | For her win in the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes here on Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day
ARC CEO Paul Wilcox says “on behalf of The Auckland Racing Club, I congratulate today’s winners.
"After an eventful season that saw Vodafone Derby Day, among a few others, take place behind 'closed doors' due to restrictions arising from COVID-19 Alert Levels in Auckland; we were still able to enjoy some stellar racing here at Ellerslie over the 2020/21 season and these awards are testament to that."
As part of the awards function and in continuing a decades-long tradition, Auckland Racing Club also unveiled a commissioned painting of this year's Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner, Rocket Spade.
That painting will be 'unveiled' to the public when the Club publishes its 2020/21 Annual Report and will spend its first year proudly hanging in the Winners' Circle for all race winners over the 2021/22 season.
Following that season the painting will move on to hang alongside others others elsewhere on course.
* Voted by a panel of racing officials and media
** Based on strike rate at Ellerslie from 1 August 2020 until Saturday 29 May 2021
*** Five finalists were eligible with the winner determined by public vote