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 TurnerCEO – Racing Association

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.

Meet The Equus Panel

Alistair Cohen

Race commentator since 2010. Called every feature on the Highveld for the 2020/21 season.

TellyTrack presenter.

3rd appearance on the Equus Panel and always honoured to be part of the decision process.

Andrew Harrison

Andrew has a Post graduate degree in journalism from Stellenbosch University after National Service in 2nd Mounted Infantry Battalion.

He joined The Witness newspaper in Pietermaritzburg in 1980 as junior journalist and in 1981 made Racing Editor after sudden death of incumbent.

He spent 25 years with The Witness before moving to Gold Circle as Publishing Manager and has been with the for the past 16 years.

Andrew is a fly-fishing nutter in his spare time.

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.

Jack Milner

Has been a fan of horseracing since getting a job as a clerk for late bookmaker Dave Hope in 1972. He worked for The Citizen in the sports department as a journalist, covering tennis, golf, cricket and squash. In 1996 he joined the South African Press Association (Sapa) and became sports editor in 2000. In 2006, Jack left Sapa to work for Phumelela to head up the Publishing Department and have edited, in particular, the Racing Express in The Citizen and the racing pages in other newspapers.

Stan Elley

Stan Elley was born in 1951 and was raised on the family Stud farm near Oudtshoorn. After boarding school in Cape Town and the obligatory year in the SA Defence Force, he worked at Newmarket for 6 months, and for Theo de Klerk locally for a year before taking out his trainer's license. Stan trained for 41 years and has been presenting on the racing channel for the last 24 years. He is married and has 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren who reside in the USA.

Meet The Media Panel

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.

Ravi Naidoo

Ravi is the founder and managing director of Design Indaba, its founding company Interactive Africa, and co-founder of rain, SA's mobile data-only network.

Interactive Africa, a Cape Town-based company that combines marketing, project management, logistic prowess and creative production to work on projects that promote South Africa.

He grew up in horseracing, and is now an owner of a number of horses.

Awards Criteria

Champion 2 Year Old Colt

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion 2 Year Old Filly

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion 3 Year Old Colt

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion 3 Year Old Filly

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Older Male

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Older Filly/Mare

Distance immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Sprinter

1000-1200; age/gender immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Miler

1400-1600; age/gender immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Middle Distance Horse

1800-2200; age/gender immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

Champion Stayer

2400 and up; age/gender immaterial. At the discretion of the voting panel.

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.

Horse Of The Year

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

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