The Always B Miki North Island Awards Night was held in the Tasman Room, at Alexandra Park, on Saturday the 2nd September, with a great crowd of approximately 350 people in attendance, which was very fitting as this was the 25th Anniversary of these awards.
This year’s very popular event on the Northern Harness Racing Calendar commenced with Pre Dinner Drinks in the Lyell Creek Lounge, with patrons then moving to the Tasman Room, in the Centennial Stand, for a sumptuous 3-course dinner, while celebrating the recognition of industry achievements, with the night once again extremely well overseen by popular Masters of Ceremonies Greg O’Connor with the inaugural addition this year of his southern counterpart Mark McNamara.
Notable equine award recipients were the 2-year-old pacing Filly of the Year New York Rain, the 2-year-old Trotter of the Year Paramount King and the 3-year-old Trotter of the Year C K Spur, who all hail from the John and Josh Dickie stable. The father and son partnership also took out the Trainer of the Year award. The 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year went to Mach Shard, with the 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year going to the Harness Jewels winner Jack’s Legend and the 3-year-old Filly of the Year being awarded to American Empress. The Orange Agent took out the Filly / Mare of the Year category, with Temporale taking out the Aged Trotter of the Year and Dream About Me the Aged Pacer of the Year.
Noteworthy human award winners were Yvette Hughes as Groom of the Year, Dylan Ferguson as Junior Drivers of the Year, Bernie Lim as Owner of the Year, Woodlands Stud as Breeder of the Year once again, David Butcher as Driver of the Year and Arna Donnelly the Female Racing Accomplishment Award.
The special award for Racing Achievement was presented to Steven Reid who achieved his 1000th training success during the season and the Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing Award
was made to Tony Dickinson who is a prominent breeder, yearling sales vendor and Breeders Association committeeman.
A quiz was staged amongst those in attendance with a prize of a Nespresso Coffee Machine which was taken out by Courtney McKinnon and there were several auctions on the night, for such items as a service fee to Sir Lincoln, a set of framed 2017 Harness Jewels colours signed by all the winning trainers and drivers, a fishing trip for two with Ross Johnson & Tony Herlihy and a service fee to Always B Miki, all to raise funds for the North Island Harness Racing Awards Trust.
A full list of award winners is as follows:-
2017 ALWAYS B MIKI NORTH ISLAND HARNESS RACING AWARDS
Auckland Harness Racing Trust Premier Cadet Award: Erin Isherwood
Dexion Amateur Driver of the Year: Sheryl Wigg
Kahukuri Bloodstock – Hollis & Robertson Groom of the Year: Yvette Hughes
Magness Video Ltd / Vid-Com Ltd Licence-to-Train/Owner-Trainer of the Year: Tim Vince
Mitavite Junior Driver of the Year: Dylan Ferguson
PGG Wrightson 2 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Mach Shard
PGG Wrightson 2 year old Filly of the Year: New York Rain
Breckon Farms 2 year old Trotter of the Year: Paramount King
Breckon Farms 3 year old Trotter of the Year: C K Spur
Dunstan 3 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year: Jack’s Legend
Dunstan 3 year old Filly of the Year: American Empress
Merv & Meg Butterworth Female Racing Achievement of the Year: Arna Donnelly
Garrards Horse & Hound Owners of the Year: Bernie Lim
Caduceus Club Filly/Mare of the Year: The Orange Agent
NI Standardbred Breeders Association Breeder of the Year: Woodlands Stud
IRT Driver of the Year: David Butcher
Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm Trainer of the Year: John & Josh Dickie
Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm Broodmare of the Year: Splendid Dreams
Woodlands Stud Stallion of the Year: Bettor’s Delight
Harness Racing New Zealand Trotter of the Year: Temporale
Auckland Trotting Club Aged Pacer of the Year: Dream About Me
Sir Lincoln – Lincoln Farms Bloodstock Racing Achievement Award: Steven Reid
Always B Miki Alabar/Nevele R Stud Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing: Tony Dickinson
There was intense rivalry for most awards up for grabs on the night, but none so much as the Driver of the Year award, between David Butcher and his son Zac. David admitted after the conclusion of the evening’s awards, that this one was a special one for him and he took great pleasure and pride in pipping his son at the post.
Congratulations must go to all award recipients.