Top Honours for NZB Graduates

15 August 2005

New Zealand Bloodstock graduate, Xcellent (Pentire x Excelo) took home the top honours for his Matamata trainers, the Moroney-Scott team, winning the title of New Zealand Horse of the Year plus Champion Three Year Old at the annual Mercedes Awards on Friday night.

His stellar season saw him undefeated in his four starts in New Zealand, including the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and Group 1 Darley Stakes (2000m). He suffered disappointment in his Sydney campaign due to the heavy track, however trainer Mike Moroney is confident there is more to come from the exciting youngster.

Xcellent was purchased by Paul Moroney for $45,000 at the 2003 Premier Yearling Sale from Wellfield Thoroughbreds.

Fairytale filly, Justa Tad (Istidaad x Infinity), a mere $1,000 purchase at the 2002 National Weanling Sale by her current owners and trainer Rudy and Megan Liefting, took home the prestigious New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title with two Group 1 wins under her belt for the season. In addition to this, as a result of her super performances in both New Zealand and Australia, Rudy Liefting was awarded the Owner of the Year title.

As the highest rated 2YO in the free handicaps, $1.1 million Karaka yearling Darci Brahma took out the top honours as the Champion Two Year Old while other New Zealand Bloodstock graduates Balmuse (Lord Ballina x Musing) and St Reims (Zabeel x L'Quiz) shared the limelight as joint winners of the Champion Weight For Age category.

Trainer, Donna Logan's 2001 Yearling Sale purchase, Zabeat (Rhythm x Zabest) took out the Champion Stayer award. Zabeat, bought for $20,000 as a yearling, saw his season this year highlighted by his win in the Group 1 Wellington Cup.

NZB graduate and international campaigner, Starcraft (Soviet Star x Flying Floozie), contributed to two awards on the night. The Champion Broodmare award went to his dam, Waikato Stud broodmare, Flying Floozie (Pompeii Court), while the Breeder of the Year went to Waikato Stud principal, Gary Chittick, for a season of success that included Group 1 winners Starcraft, Lachlan River (Desert King) and Glamour Puss (Tale of the Cat).