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21/02/02 Li Lo Lill Crowned Horse of the Year
Consistent three-year-old filly Li Lo Lill was crowned as the South Australian Horse of the Year at a glittering awards night held by the South Australian Thoroughbred Breeders at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Saturday night.

The locally trained beat eleven other highly credentialled South Aussie bred horses for the top award, which was sponsored by Yalumba.

Co-bred and trained by leading Morphettville trained Leon Macdonald, Li Lo Lill was one of three locally bred gallopers by Umatilla, to be announced as a monthly finalist during 2001. Stand by Me (January) and Umaline (February) were the other two.

Li Lo Lill earned her nomination for a wonderful spring carnival, which netted her connections four Group placings.

While other three-year-old fillies were a little inconsistent in the Oaks lead up, Li Lo Lill was by far the most consistent after placing in the Edward Manifold Stakes, Thousand Guineas, Wakeful Stakes and the Crown Oaks.

The Li Lo Lill star first shone when she scored his initial win at just her third career start. As a two-year-old she thrashed a handy field by six and a half lengths at Cheltenham Park.

After running second in the listed Walter Brown Stakes at Morphettville she returned to the winner's stall at her home track when she convincingly downed Tully Thunder in the Group Three Sires' Produce Stakes over 1600 metres.

At her first two runs back in her most recent preparation Li Lo Lill had absolutely no luck when she finished down the track in both the Ascot Vale Stakes and Tranquil Star Stakes.

In what looked a vintage year for three-year-old fillies the efforts by the daughter of Umatilla around the likes of Magical Miss, Ugachaka, Manang, Quays and True Jewels were outstanding.

Her consistency was enough to elevate her to become the first horse this calendar year to receive a monthly award without actually having won a race during that period.

Umatilla has been a revelation at stud after what was an illustrious racetrack career. A winner of the Karrakatta Plate in Perth as a two-year-old, Umatilla won seven races in his career. He was placed in such feature events as the Blue Diamond Stakes, Lightning Handicap, Newmarket Handicap and the VRC Sires' Produce Stakes.

At stud his progeny have been performing exceptionally well. Amazingly his first Group One win as a sire came when his son Umah also won the Karrakatta in Perth. Since Umah others to star for the son of Miswaki have included Sydney Cup winner Streak, Adelaide Cup winner Bohemiath, locally owned miler Umrum, Oaks placed Umaline and other stakes winners Special Edition, Stand by Me, Lisa's Game, Kim Uma, Princess Marengo and Umatune.

Li Lo Lill's dam Faricca was also trained by Leon Macdonald. In a handy career on the track she scored five wins and 12 minor placings from just 36 starts. Four of her five wins came at Morphettville, while the other was registered at Victoria Park.

She had already produced the impressive city winner Linga Longa Lucy, who's career was tragically cut short through injury. In just six starts she had managed to win the listed Walter Brown Stakes. Her only other runner to date is Linga Longa Lucy’s full brother Tumble on Tommy. Twice having placed fourth in Adelaide the horse in now in Queensland.

Li Lo Lill wasn’t the only other winner on the night. Leading local administrator and keen breeder Michael Birchall was awarded for his outstanding achievements taking the Malaysia Airlines Matrice Award.

Birchall’s name joins other individials, groups and horses who have been past winners. Other winners included Ron Papps, Without Fear, Colin Hayes, David Coles, Kerry O’Brien and the South Australian TAB.

Toorak Park Stud were also toasted during the evening through their achievements during the 2000-01 season when they took the Leading Breeder trophy. The group comprising of Harry Perks, Rod Fairclough and Trevor Robertson had a great recent twelve months with the likes of Regal Kiss, Glitzy Guru and Toorak Thunder.

Magic Millions introduced a new award which honoured the achievements of Adelaide Sale Graduates who performed well abroad. The inaugural winner was one of the SA Horses of the Month, Magic Wish. A son of Southern Appeal he was bred by former Lakewood Stud proprietors Florian and Marta Stumpf.

The Horse of the Year Dinner was well attended by a broad cross section of the local and national thoroughbred industry. The SATB’s President Brenton Wilkinson paid tribute to the assocation’s Executive Officer Elaine Robertson who worked tirelessly to plan the event.

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