trainer and jockey or both the Melbourne Cup winner Ethereal and the Cox Plate champion
Northerly are among six finalists to be announced as the Personality of the Racing Season
which ends on July 31.
Sheila Laxon and Scott Seamer
of Ethereal fame and Fred Kersley and Damien Oliver from the Northerly camp are four of
the six on the short list.
The other two are Sunline's devoted strapper and track
rider Claire Bird and leading New South Wales trainer Bede Murray.
Claire would have to be one of the world's most
recognisable strapper. She and champion New Zealand mare Sunline are inseparable.
Claire does the majority of the track work on the Desert
Sun mare at home and on training tracks around Australia as well as performing all of the
race day duties with the dual Cox Plate winner.
The pair teamed up to win three Australian Group One races
during the season - the Coolmore Classic, the Doncaster Handicap and the All Aged Stakes,
all in Sydney. She also finished second to Northerly in a memorable Cox Plate at Moonee
Valley in Melbourne.
Was better known in the racing industry through his talents
as a harness trainer and trotting driver before he unearthed a promising lanky Serheed
gelding at the gallops in Perth.
Just a couple of seasons later Northerly has established
himself as a household name in racing. He met both Sunline and Ethereal twice during the
season and beat them each time. His best win in the past season came in the WS Cox Plate
at Moonee Valley when he survived a double protest to take the trophy.
Kersley is well respected by his peers and the media alike.
His honesty and down-to-earth attitude shines nearly as much as his diamond studded
Well hasn't the past twelve months been a turning point in
the life of this Welsh born lass. Previously only known as the wife of leading Singapore
based trainer Laurie, Sheila sent her own name up in lights when he Queensland Oaks winner
from last season Ethereal made the next step.
After surviving a protest to win the Caulfield Cup she then
unleashed a powerful burst to down the international invader Give the Slip in the
Melbourne Cup at her very next start. The pair then went to Sydney and beat the talented
Universal Prince in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Laxon, who admits to feeling "weird" in a pretty
dress and glamourous hat, was the toast of the racing world when she became the first
woman trainer to win the Cup in November.
It's been a huge past twelve months in many ways for the
Kembla Grange wonder trainer Bede Murray. Last season he trained Universal Prince to score
a devastating win in the AJC Derby and again that galloper scored a win at racing's
highest level in Sydney this season.
But Murray would always have to wonder what would have been
after his horse was denied a start in the Melbourne Cup after stewards deemed the horse
Murray captured a number of other races along with way with
his other stars including Half Hennessy, Victory Vein (a certainty for juvenile of the
year) and Recruiting.
Melbourne's premier jockey Damien Oliver again had another
incredible season. But you certainly come to expect that, as he seems to be doing it year
in, year out at the moment.
Currently enjoying a break from the saddle Oliver topped
the list of Group One wins for jockeys thanks to a team which included Northerly, Don
Eduardo, Mr Murphy, Pillaging, Amalfi, Falvelon and Tully Thunder.
There were also feature wins on the likes of Moon Dragon,
Sky Heights, North Boy, Ugachaka, Recruiting and Blur for the former Western Australian.
Seamer was the only jockey to come close to rivalling
Oliver for a season of domination. Not only did he team up to win the Group One Cups
double with Ethereal, but he also won Group One's on the likes on La Bella Dama and
Barkada, and in New Zealand with Vapour Trail and Leica Guv.
Another of his feature wins came in the world's richest
juvenile race, the Golden Slipper aboard Calaway Gal. His luck with the juveniles also
extended to winning the Gold Coast Magic Millions with the subsequent dual Group One
winner Lovely Jubly.
Seamer took up an opportunity to ride in Hong Kong earlier
this year, but tragically fell early in his stint and was seriously injured. He has not
ridden since, but can be expected back in the saddle very soon.
PICS - Quentin