Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
SAINT CECELIA, who was unbeaten in six starts in 2012, was voted Horse of the Year for a second consecutive year, this time by unanimous acclaim.
Trained by Spencer Chung for owners Robert and Valentine Chung, the outstanding six-year-old mare by Burning Marque out of the Bates Motel mare She's On Wheels, won six grade one trophy races, including the CTL Gold Cup for a second straight year, the CTL Caribbean Sprint Championship, None Such Sprint Trophy, She's On Wheels Trophy and Lotto Sprint Trophy.
SAINT CECELIA is unbeaten in her last 11 races, closing out the season on December 8 with an emphatic victory in the Gold Cup over 1400 metres. She is only a win away from equalling WAR ZONE's all-time record of 12 consecutive wins, established in 1996.
SAINT CECELIA was also named champion sprinter, champion middle distance performer and best local-bred horse. She also capped a number of sectional awards in the four-year-old and up category.
MARK MY WORD, who lost out by a single vote to SAINT CECELIA in 2011, was once again voted first runner-up. As a 5-y-o last season, the Richard Azan-trained horse by Market Rally out of Miss Chestnut won four of his five races, including the Superstakes for a third consecutive year. His only defeat came against SAINT CECELIA in the Gold Cup.
The 2010 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner was voted first runner-up to the Horse of the Year and best stayer for the third straight year, along with a handful of sectional awards.
Derby and St Leger winner TYPEWRITER, a stable companion of SAINT CECELIA, was voted champion three-year-old and also second runner-up to the Horse of the Year, the American filly NOON IT IS, best 3-y-o female, while the unbeaten American filly CITY FLIGHT, from the stables of Gary Subratie, was named champion two-year-old over SVL 2-Y-O Stakes winner HOVER CRAFT, who was cited the best of the opposite sex (male).
UNCLE TAF, who was unbeaten in two starts, won the award for best 2-y-o male sprinter, but the filly CITY FLIGHT was voted overall winner in that category. And MISMYRTLEBOYRICHIE was named champion foreign bred.
Most improved rider
First-time champion jockey Dane Nelson, with 124 wins (almost double his tally of last year), was named Most Improved Rider, while ex-jockey Fitzroy Glispie capped the Most Improved Trainer award.
The fleet-footed MR SKILL from the Lawrence Freemantle stables won an award as Best 4-y-o and up Male Sprinter to overall champion SAINT CECELIA, while American-bred NYABINGHI from the Peter McMaster stables was named Best 4-y-o and up Female Stayer to overall champion MARK MY WORD.
The above-mentioned awards were voted for by the 19-member Horse of the Year Committee comprising representatives of the press and CTL officials.
Recipients of awards already determined by statistics are as follows:
Dane Nelson (champion jockey), Wayne DaCosta (champion trainer) for the eighth consecutive year and 12th time overall; Elite Bloodstock Limited (champion owners), Shamaree Muir (champion apprentice), HAM Stables Limited (champion breeders), Garth A. Pennant (champion groom), Traditional (champion sire) and Docs' Paladin, the dam of Typewriter (champion broodmare).
Awards will be presented at the annual Salute to Racing ceremony at Caymanas Park, at a date to be announced.