2022 Public Vote Now Open!

2022 Equus Panel

Deez Dayanand

TV presenter since 2000 and agent to SA Champion Jockeys, Anthony Delpech & Lyle Hewitson and Anton Marcus.

He debuts on the panel and said, “It’s an honour & privilege, thank you Equus!”

Graeme Hawkins

Graeme started his career in racing back in 1977 as a race commentator in the Western Cape. He was then signed up by the Highveld Racing Clubs in 1983 to be a part of their commentary and presenting teams, a position he held until 2007 when he moved to KZN to join Gold Circle. At the same he had been a member of Bloodstock South Africa’s auctioneering team and since 2002 he has held executive positions with both Phumelela and Gold Circle.

Ken Nicol

Born in Scotland 'a long, long time ago', Ken was one of the official NHA Handicappers for many years.

He also gained extensive experience in racing journalism with the Sporting Post and Phumelela Publishing, before assuming the role of Turf Talk editor, a position he held until very recently.

Nico Kritsiotis

Nico Kritsiotis started commentating at the age of 16 in Zimbabwe at Ascot Racecourse in Bulawayo. He has a B. Comm degree from the University Of Natal and moved up to Johannesburg in 1996 to become a presenter on the racing channel IGN. He is still part of the commentating scene in South Africa and together with Neil Andrews started the very popular Clocking The Gallop show on YouTube in 2020.

Rouvaun Smit

Rouvaun Smit, has been a popular feature of Cape Racing for more than a quarter century, having called champions from Durbanville and Kenilworth, to one of the world’s greatest racemeetings at the historic Epsom Racecourse in England.

Born-and-bred a Capetonian, he was also afforded the opportunity to call in Dubai, the year of Meydan’s champagne opening, as well as being invited to Champ de Mars in Mauritius to call at their Jockey's International Racemeeting.

Coupled with a strong radio broadcasting background, that makes him an instantly recognisable personality in his home city of Cape Town.

2022 Media Panel

Alison MacKenzie

Alison MacKenzie grew up with a passion for horses and riding. As a young show jumper she represented her country, Zambia, and rode in amateur races there and in neighbouring Zimbabwe. After coming to South Africa, she became a National Judge for showing and breed classes. For decades Alison led out the field on race days, and took care of the famous retired thoroughbreds given this job at Turffontein Racecourse.

Alison was Editor of The South African Racehorse during which time she wrote a racing column for the Financial Mail. When The South African Racehorse was taken over by Prime Media, she joined the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Trust as its manager. With transformation as the central goal, she helped set up the Grooms’ Work Riders’ Programme and the introduction of work riders’ races.

She is a devoted lover of the noble thoroughbred horse and racing.

Howard Wright

Horseracing journalist since June 1964, becoming one of the founding members of staff on the Racing Post when it was launched in April 1986.

Since retiring as the Post’s industry editor in July 2012, he has continued to write for the paper, as well as other international media, including Thoroughbred Owner Breeder and the UAE’s Al Adiyat.

Aside from media work, he has been a trustee of the UK’s stable-staff training centre, the National Horseracing College since 1990, and vice-chairman since 2004, and was a member of Britain’s Flat Pattern Committee from 1986-2009.

Neil Morrice

Forty five years in racing journalism and broadcasting, Fleet Street London Press Association 1980-1986; Racing Post 1986-1998; Neil Morrice Racing Ltd 2000-2021;
Former UK Correspondent for Phumelela 2011 - 2017; Current UK and International Correspondent for Hollywoodbets, Durban, SA.

Equus Awards 2021

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2021 Winners

Champion 2 Year Old Colt

Good Traveller

Champion 2 Year Old Filly

Rain In Holland

Champion 3 Year Old Colt

Jet Dark

Champion 3 Year Old Filly

War Of Athena

Champion Older Male

Rainbow Bridge

Champion Older Filly/Mare

Summer Pudding

Champion Sprinter

Rio Querari

Champion Miler

Jet Dark

Champion Middle Distance Horse

Rainbow Bridge

Champion Stayer


2021 Winners

Champion Breeder

Klawervlei Stud

Champion Stallion


Champion Broodmare

Halfway To Heaven

Outstanding Breeder

Oldlands Stud

Outstanding International Achievement Award

Yulong Prince (formerly Surcharge)

Champion Apprentice Jockey

Kyle Strydom

Champion Jockey

Lyle Hewitson

Champion Owner

Suzette Viljoen

Champion Trainer

Justin Snaith

Print Media Award

David Thiselton

Broadcast Media Award

Tawanda Taruvinga

Still Photography Media Award

Candiese Lenferna

Special Achievement Award

Graeme Hawkins

Horse Of The Year

Rainbow Bridge

Special Award to Groom of Horse of the year

Dumasani Bonani

“The Equus Awards is the “Oscars” of the Horse racing industry. It is an opportunity to honour the outstanding achievements in the various equine and human categories for the respective racing season.”

Natalie Turner

Chair Of The Equus Committee

“A panel of judges decide the winners in the equine categories and the statistics from the NHRA largely determine the human awards.

The Equus Awards is all about glitz and glamour and historically it has been celebrated as a formal black-tie event, held during the month of August after the conclusion of the racing season on 31 July each year. Over the past two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards have been broadcast as a virtual event. This however has not diminished the honour and prestige that comes with winning such an esteemed award.

The Awards include equine categories, breeders’ awards and human awards. The highlight of the event is the announcement of Champion Horse of the Year.

The Equus Awards organising committee which includes representatives of the Racing Association, The Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Cape Racing, Gold Circle and Phumelela has started preparing for this year’s Equus Awards to honour the champions of the turf.

The judges’ panel comprises Graeme Hawkins, Alistair Cohen, Jack Milner, Andrew Harrison and Stan Elley who are all seasoned campaigners in the South African horseracing Industry.

The Equus Awards Committee has also announced the reintroduction of the Equus Media Awards for the 2020/2021 racing season. The three categories that will be judged are written material (print and electronic), broadcasting (television and internet) and still photography. The judges for the Equus Media Awards are Neil Morrice, Howard Wright and Ravi Naidoo.

Final decisions on the winners will be taken after the feature raceday taking place at Hollywood Bets Greyville on Saturday 31 August.

The 2021 Equus Awards will be broadcast on Tellytrack (DSTV Channel 249) on Tuesday 17th August at 8pm.”

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The basis for the awarding of the equine categories for the Equus Awards from the current season (1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022) has been changed to a South African version of the UK’s Cartier Racing Awards. These are awarded each year based on a combination of the following three elements:

  • Pattern Race Points System
  • Expert Panel Rating
  • Public Vote

For the new South African version each of these three elements will carry an equal weighting (33,3%) in the final award calculation. The Pattern Race points system will be based on the result of the season’s Graded races, followed by an expert panel rating and a public vote which will collaboratively determine the Equus Award in each of the equine categories.

The list of nominees for the expert panel rating and the public vote in each of the equine categories will be determined by points accumulated by each horse during the season in Graded races, with an exception made for the Champion Stayer category where Listed performances are also to be included. The points system will ensure that South Africa’s best races are awarded the most points in each category and each horse nominated to the final voting list has demonstrated potential Champion status.

Grade 1 races will carry more points than Grade 2 races, Grade 2 more than Grade 3, open-races more points than restricted-races (by age or sex), and WFA or fixed-weight races more points than conditions or handicap races of the same grading. Additionally, certain races have been designated “Super Status” in their respective Grading in acknowledgement of their enhanced importance in the pattern of Graded races through the season. These races will carry the most points in each category and Grading.

Points will accumulate for the first-four finishers in Grade 1 races, and for the first-three in Grade 2 and Grade 3 races. Listed races which carry points towards the Champion Stayer category will be awarded for the first-three finishers except in races restricted to fillies and mares where only the first-two will be awarded points. All Graded performances in the season will carry points towards the Horse-Of-The- Year, Age-Group categories and Male / Female categories. However, the four Distance-related categories (Champion Sprinter, Miler, Middle Distance and Stayer) will EXCLUDE performances in Age-Group restricted races and points for these categories will only accrue from races where all ages may participate.

There are currently 114 Graded races in the season from which points will accumulate for the equine awards. Of these, 29 are Grade 1, 36 Grade 2 and 49 Grade 3. Additionally, 8 Listed races over 2400 metres and further are included for points accrual in the Stayers category. Six races at Grade 1 and two at Grade 2 level have been designated “Super Status” and will carry enhanced points. All these Super Grade 1 races are WFA races, while the two Super Grade 2 races are WFA plus penalties.

The points outlined above are summarised in the table below:

Category 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Super Grade 1 48 24 12 6
Durban July 40 20 10 5
Grade 1 Open WFA 40 20 10 5
Grade 1 Open Hcp 32 16 8 4
Grade 1 Age restricted 32 16 8 4
Grade 1 F&M 32 16 8 4
Super Grade 2 24 12 6
Grade 2 Open WFA(+P) 20 10 5
Grade 2 Open Hcp 16 8 4
Grade 2 Age restricted 16 8 4
Grade 2 F&M 16 8 4  
Grade 3 Open WFA(+P) 10 5 3
Grade 3 Open Hcp 8 4 2
Grade 3 Age restricted 8 4 2
Grade 3 F&M 8 4 2  
2400m+ only
Listed Open Conditions 6 3 1
Listed Open Handicaps 4 2 1
Listed Open F&M 3 1    

The Graded races designated Super-status are:

  • the Queen’s Plate (Gr 1), the Cape Met (Gr1) and the Green Point Stakes (Gr2) in the Western Cape 
  • the Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr1) and the Champions Challenge (Gr1) on the Highveld 
  • the Gold Challenge (Gr1), the Champions Cup (Gr1) and the Drill Hall Stakes (Gr2) in KZN

Significant work has been undertaken modelling the past three seasons Graded Races results against a combination of the new points system, the known expert panel voting outcomes and a simulation of the likely spread of a public vote. This has adequately proven the suitability of the new mechanism when compared to previous Equus Awards nominees and winners.

An updated table will be published monthly from the new year through the season indicating the points accumulation in each category. Final lists will be distributed at the end of the season for the voting by both the expert panel and the public. 

The composition of the expert panel will be announced in due course, while details of the public vote will be communicated towards the end of the season.

The human Equus Awards and equine Breeding Categories will continue to be awarded as before based on industry statistics and will not comprise a points or public voting element.

Human & Breeding Awards Criteria

Champion Breeder

For the breeder of the horses who have won the most stakes in the year – excluding restricted races.

Champion Stallion

The stallion whose progeny have won the most stakes in a year – excluding restricted races.

Champion Broodmare

Only broodmares who bred a Graded stakes winner in the past season are considered. Preference will be given to a broodmare that has produced: Very high quality stock & more than one stakes winner. Any other relevant consideration may be taken into account, including her lifetime record.

Outstanding Stallion

Only given if warranted in any year. An award for exceptional achievement as a stallion. Although conceivable that the Champion Stallion may also win this award, it will only occur in exceptional circumstances. This award contemplates to recognise: A stallion that has burst onto the scene in a very exceptional manner; or a stallion that has sired a horse or horses of exceptional ability; or a stallion that has produced an unusual array of very high class horses; or for exceptional achievement as a broodmare sire. Any other relevant consideration may be taken into account.

Outstanding Breeder

Award for the most outstanding breeder of the year having regard to the: quality of the racehorses produced (graded stakes winners in particular); average earnings per runner; and any other factor that may reflect favourably on the breeder. All breeders will be considered on an equal footing, meaning that average earnings per runner or quality of stock rather than total stakes.

Outstanding International Achievement Award

Only given if an SA-bred horse has met the criteria during the season (an international Grade 1 win). This award is for exceptional merit and will only be granted if warranted. Only a Grade 1 win will justify the granting of this award.

Champion Apprentice Jockey

Based on number of wins in SA – including restricted races.

Champion Owner

Based on stakes earned – excluding restricted races.

Champion Jockey

Based on number of wins in SA – including restricted races.

Champion Trainer

Based on stakes earned – excluding restricted races.

Media Awards

Written / Broadcast / Photographic. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Special Achievement Award

Only given if warranted. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Special Award To Groom Of The Year

Groom of the winning Horse Of The Year.

Horse Of The Year

Distance, age & gender immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.