It was the Bonneval show in Auckland on Sunday night.
The Cambridge mare dominated the 2017 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.
Bonneval’s connections spent much of the night on stage as the dual Oaks winner was voted Horse of the Year, Three-Year-Old of the Year and Stayer of the Year for the 2016-17 season. Her owners were also presented with the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year trophy.
In addition, Bonneval’s trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, gained all bar one of the 57 votes cast for Trainer of the Year and Bonneval’s dam, Imposingly, was named Broodmare of the Year.
The prestigious NZTR Contribution To Racing Award went to syndicator and Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis.
The accolades for Bonneval came the day after she began her four-year-old career with a decisive Group II win over 1600m at Moonee Valley. She is now second favourite for the Caulfield Cup and third favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
She is the first three-year-old filly to be named New Zealand Horse of the Year since Sunline, in 1999, and the fourth successive Horse of the Year winner trained by Baker and Forsman. Dundeel began the stable’s run, in 2014, with Mongolian Khan taking the title for the two following seasons.
The Horse of the Year voting became a three-way battle, though Bonneval won by a comfortable margin, with 27 votes, 12 more than fellow three-year-old Gingernuts. Kawi, the Middle Distance Horse of the Year, gained 10 votes with three for another three-year-old in Jon Snow.
Bonneval had a smaller margin when beating Gingernuts by six votes in the three-year-old category but dominated the stayers’ section with 37 votes, 29 more than Auckland Cup winner Chenille.
New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts had the hard luck story of the night, being runner-up in voting for Horse of the Year but unable to win an individual category.
Bonneval, a Makfi filly, was a $150,000 yearling buy for owners Terry Jarvis, Alastair Lawrence and John Rattray and is unbeaten from four starts past 1600m.
She had just seven starts as a three-year-old and got better as the season progressed. She was a luckless third in the Desert Gold Stakes in January before reeling off four successive group wins.
She won the Sir Tristram Classic and Lowland Stakes before becoming the first filly since 1990 to win both the New Zealand and Australian Oaks. She produced one of the standout performances of the season when winning the Australian Oaks by more than four lengths.
Kawi, who won three Group I weight-for-age races during the season, was an almost unanimous choice for the middle distance award and Start Wondering dominated the Sprinter of the Year voting.
Melody Belle was voted Two-Year-Old of the Year by a comfortable margin and Kick Back, who was retired after winning the 2016 Great Northern Steeplechase, was Jumper of the Year.
Chris Johnson, whose premiership win at the age of 53 provided the feel-good story of the season, was Jockey of the Year and Aaron Kuru followed a premiership win by being named Jumps Jockey of the Year.
Wellington owner Lib Petagna, who races under the JML Bloodstock banner, headed the owners’ premiership and was voted Owner of the Year for the second successive season.
Petagna had another wonderful year with the likes of Ugo Foscolo, Saracino, Eleonora, Nicoletta, Sofia Rosa and Francaletta. The Australian-trained Group I winner Tivaci also raced in Petagna’s colours.
Manawatu’s Goodwood Stud, which bred Gingernuts, Nicoletta and Order Again, was named Breeder of the Year. Goodwood is the first central districts-based winner of the breeders’ award for more than 20 years.
David Ellis was honoured for a lifetime of achievement in racing when receiving the outstanding contribution award.
Ellis has made a mark as a thoroughbred buyer, owner, syndicator, breeder, administrator and sponsor.
He has been the driving force behind the name Te Akau becoming a global thoroughbred brand and has established premiership-winning stables at Matamata and Singapore.
He has been the leading buyer at the New Zealand national sale for the past 12 years and over that period alone has bought 369 yearlings, at a cost of $64.5 million.
Otaki’s Joanne Roylands was the inaugural winner of the Strapper of the Year Award, which was sponsored by champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller. Roylands had a long association with Otaki trainer Huia Bishop, who died in July.