As the year draws to an end, we can take a look at some of the best performing horses from the last 12 months. From the great mare with her 3rd straight Cox Plate Victory, to another who has emerged as arguably the best sprinter in the world. Compiled with 3-years-olds to veteran sprinters, this is a dazzling list of champions and up-and-comers and horses who put it all tigether this year. View our list of the Top 10 horses in the 2017 calendar year.
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Anthony Freedman’s 3-year-old filly by Fastnet Rock started the year in outstanding fashion, winning her first start by 4L at Seymour over 1100m in February. She only got better, winning 3 more consecutively including the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Flemington, and the Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick, taking care of the smart Formality. She was then placed behind Booker in a 1400m race at Caulfield, however putting in a big run to beat Catchy before she was Group 1 placed in the Caulfield Guineas. Shoals finished the year with her first Group 1 win, taking out the Myer Classic from barrier 10 in a very handy field that included Dixie Blossoms, Foxplay, Global Glamour and Danish Twist.
9: Vega Magic
The WA Galloper was put to the test in the Group 1 Goodwood at Morphetville in May this year, recording a good on-pace victory ahead of Missrock and Casino Wizard, in a handy field also consisting of Black Heart Bart, Malaguerra, Santa Ana Lane and Hey Doc. The 5-year-old gelding made it 3 on the trot defeating Brave Smash and Santa Ana Lane in the listed Regal Roller at Caulfield, before arguably his best win yet over big guns Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 Memsie at Caulfield on September 2nd. Although a beaten horse, Vega Magic was a standout in the Everest, coming from 8th 400 out to run just 0.8L shy of winner Redzel, a high-quality performance against the best sprinters in the nation. Although less then his best in the Manikato and Darley Classic, Vega Magic will be aiming to recapture his 2017 form next prep and one again should not be far away from climbing The Everest. Vega Magic currently holds a spot in the Longine’s World’s best racehorse rankings, sitting equal 36th.
8: Happy Clapper
Happy Clapper had a very successful 2017 Campaign, missing a place just twice in 10 starts this year. The Patrick Webster trained gelding showed a handy turn of foot in a Listed race Canberra earlier in year, coming from 12th to finish second. He was a dominant winner in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket before stepping back up to Group 1 level, finishing runner up to It’s Somewhat in the Doncaster. He was never in it behind Winx and Hartnell in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth however bounced back well in September, beating Tom Melbourne and Invincible Gem in the Group 2 Tramway at Randwick in September. Most notably, Happy Clapper then ran just 1.3L behind Winx in the George Main Stakes, prior to taking out the Group 1 Epsom where he beat Tom Melbourne once again. Happy Clapper was placed 2 out of his next 3 races including the Group 3 Craven Plate and The Group 1 Mackinnon, denied by a brilliant run from Japanese import Tosen Stardom.
7: Tosen Stardom
The 7-year-old trained by Darren Weir has succeeded in his 2nd visit to Australia, earning a deserved reputation of one of the best swoopers running around, coming home this year with some massive runs. Tosen Stardom was a runner up twice early in the year, firstly behind Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield, and then beaten off by Palatino in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes at Flemington in March. He was again Group 1 placed in the Memsie, just 1.8L off Vega Magic and Black Heart Bart. Tosen Stardom ended 2017 with Group 1 wins in the Toorak Handicap and then the Emirates Stakes, getting the better of Happy Clapper and It’s Somewhat with a huge run, coming from 8th at the 400m mark to score at over the 2000m on the 11th of November at Flemington.
Humidor started the year with multiple placings before winning the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington beating home last years Caulfield Cup winner Jameka. He earmarked himself as one of the major staying threats for the Spring and he didn’t let fans down. He raced twice before breaking his Spring duck in the Makybe Diva Stakes where he was ultra impressive beating odds on favourite Hartnell by a margin. He races well behind Winx in the Turnbull Stakes and jumped as the second favourite in the Caulfield Cup but didn’t exactly get the distance. He then wen’t to the Cox Plate to take on the mighty mare Winx again and he almost caused the upset of the decade pushing Winx to a neck. He pushed onto the Melbourne Cup but failed over the distance but that run didn’t tarnish what was a very fruitful year for the ex Kiwi stayer.
Lloyd Williams owned Rekindling became the first horse to ever win the Melbourne Cup as the 3-year-old, defeating Johannes Vermeer and Max Dynamite in the famous race. The now 4-year-old by High Chaparral started the year with a win at Leopardstown in a Group 3 over 2011m prior to defeating fellow Great Britain Melbourne Cup runner Wicklow Brave at Curragh in July. He was also runner up to the highly regarded Order Of St George, making the journey down under with some handy form under his belt. Should Rekindling be successful in defending his Melbourne Cup title next year, he will be just one win away from the feat achieved by the great Makybe Diva of 3 consecutive Melbourne Cup victories.
4: Ace High
This boom 3-year-old looks to have found his feet with 3 very impressive wins to finish the year. The David Payne colt relished the rise in distance when given 1800m in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill Gardens, where leading and holding off Sanctioned and Coral Coast. Remarkably, Ace High then recorded back-to-back Group 1 victories, firstly on the 7th of October in the 2000m Champion Stakes, and then a dominant display at Flemington 2L in front of Tangled and Sully in the 2500m Victoria Derby. For this colt it will be a case of the more distance he gets, the more he’ll win by. When asked by the Sydney Morning Herald if Ace High will contest the 2018 Melbourne Cup, trainer David Payne responded with “Why not, if he’s sound and still around”, a solid suggestion that this time next year, we could very well be seeing Ace High win the race that stops the nation.
3: She Will Reign
The Group 1 Golden Slipper winner, she is the top of the class of 2017. The 3 year-old by Manhattan Rain convincingly defeated the likes of Houtzen, Menari, Catchy, Formality and Pariah prior to her 2nd Group 1 victory in the Moir Stakes, coming with a special run from 10th at the 400m mark to run over the likes of Viddora, Sheidel, Voodoo Lad, Malaguerra and Russian Revolution. Although disappointing in the Everest, we can expect more improvement from the Gary Portelli trained filly, making her very hard to beat in 2018. She currently has an imposing record of 7 starts for 5 wins and 1 minor placing, being out of the money just once. Since beginning her career as a 2-year-old, she has accumulated $3,034,150.
Peter & Paul Snowden’s flyer had close to the perfect year, winning 6 from 8 starts and finishing 2nd in the remaining 2. Redzel now has the crown of Australia’s best sprinter, but just how far can he go? The 5-year-old gelding by Snitzel has now won 6 on the trot including 3 consecutive Group 1s, winning the Doomben 10,000 and The Darley Classic, and of course the big one, The $10million dollar Everest. It is unknown whether Redzel will attempt to conquer the world in the future, or perhaps emulate the Grey Flash Chautauqua, and aim for the Hong Kong Chairman’s Sprint. One thing is for sure; Redzel will continue to win, already boasting a more then impressive record, with 16 places from 21 starts, amassing a total of $7,797,750.
Say no more. Wonder girl Winx made it 22 on the trot this year, breaking the Moonee Valley track record (2:02.94) for 2040m along the way to winning her 3rd Cox Plate. Not to mention, running down Foxplay after blowing the start in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes back in August, or giving Red Excitement plenty before quickly catching up to record a convincing 1L victory in the Group 2 Chelmsford. Winx currently sits 2nd behind the United State’s Arrogate in the Longine’s Worlds Best Racehorse Rankings. Still indefinite if she will run overseas, she presently sits on the third line of betting for the Dubai Turf futures market at $9. The number 1 horse of this year now undoubtedly has her names etched into Australian racing history among such champions Black Caviar, Makybe Diva, Might And Power and Kingston Town among other great racehorses to see the turf of Royal Randwick, Flemington and Moonee Valley.