Winners and Losers from a memorable year. The racing industry awards you’ve been waiting for.

December 17, 2011

Dust off your best jacket. Straighten that tie. It’s show time.

Yes, here they are. The first annual Hold All Tickets racing gongs.

The awards all decent racing folk are desperate to win. Even if they won’t admit it. Or don’t know they exist.

So here we go. Dim the lights. Save applause to the end. Any whingeing can be directed to our Complaints Department. End of the hall, turn right.

***The ‘Getting Bums on Seats’ award – Peter Moody.***

How good is this bloke? He’s a Queenslander, which is a fair start. But I don’t know anyone who’s done more this year to get people back to racetracks.

He’s more than a champion trainer. He gets it. The fact that people want to see his magnificent mare.

Moody wants Australians to experience the thrill of Black Caviar in action, so he takes her all over our great land. It means so much to him. Much more than an overseas jaunt.

Take the tip. Very few other trainers would be doing the same thing.

***The ‘Jockey to win my Bus Fare Home’ award’ – Nash Rawiller.***

Tough to overlook my Queensland boys. But Rawiller could end up one of the greats. Gives them every chance, every time. A thinking hoop. Stays out of trouble. And you want to be on him in a photo.

Honourable mentions for D. Browne and C. Munce. Super competitors, showing the young blokes how it’s done. Munce would win on a broomstick at the minute.

Watch out for Jason Holder back in Adelaide. He’ll win a heap. And how good is young Chad Schofield going to be? Back him, any day, without hesitation.

***The ‘Trainer Making room on the Mantlepiece’ award – Rob Heathcote.***

He can smell that Group One. Taste it. It’s so close. And no one is more deserving.

Few work harder. Turns out his horses in immaculate fashion, each and every time.

He won’t want to wait this long, but I’d love to see the great moment unfold at next year’s Brisbane Winter carnival. So we can all gather at the stable and make him shout us expensive drinks.

Even better, let’s make it with an as-yet unraced 3-year-old, part owned by some rough heads, who’s ready to light up the track. Stradbroke would be nice. Over to you Rob!

***The ‘Someone make it a Decent Race Again’ award – Caulfield Cup.***

It was one of our great events. Not any more. Most punters didn’t know more than a handful of runners this year. The experts dispute that, but they don’t ask blokes sitting in the TAB. Believe me, it’s in trouble.

Where the overseas runners are now considered sexy in the Melbourne Cup, they’ve done the opposite to the great Caulfield race.

It’s become a giant yawn. And it needs fixing. When the Geelong Cup becomes a better form guide for our great race, something is badly out of whack.

***The ‘Duracell Non-stop Media Man’ award – Andrew Bensley.***

He’s here. He’s there. He’s everywhere. The perfect example of a modern racing media man.

No one is better connected. The big man understands the importance of getting decent information to punters, as soon as it’s available.

His work on Twitter is truly amazing. If you don’t follow him, you’re missing out. Bensley is leading the way in this new age of punting.

Honourable mentions to Ron Dufficy, who tells it like it is (so bloody refreshing), and the Brisbane duo of Steve Hewlett and Tony Clements on 4TAB. Two blokes who love their racing, and put listeners first. A radio show that’s not ego-driven. Try and find one elsewhere.

And keep an eye on a young journo, who lives and breathes racing. Find Andrew Hawkins on Twitter, and follow him. He’ll be running the industry in five years.

So there we have it. Congratulations to all. Prizes are in the mail, and can be redeemed at any Night Owl store where the slushie machine is working.