Kah, Holder share spoils at TRSA awards night
STAR jockeys Jamie Kah and Jason Holder snared a piece of South Australian racing history on Saturday night, becoming the first joint winners of the prestigious John Letts Medal.
Their shared triumph was a highlight of the annual Thoroughbred Racing SA Industry Awards night, held before a big crowd at Morphettville racecourse.
The pair finished the medal count on 49 points, five clear of Irish apprentice Emily Finnegan.
It was the second medal success for both riders, with Kah claiming the 2012-13 season award as a 17-year-old apprentice before Holder was honoured 12 months later.
The Letts Medal, decided by a scaled voting system that awards points to jockeys at metropolitan, provincial and country meetings, acknowledged bumper seasons for both Kah and Holder.
The victory capped off a wonderful return to the track for 20-year-old Kah, who took an extended break from the sport in early 2015 before re-establishing herself as one of the nation’s most naturally gifted riders.
She won more races than any other SA jockey in 2015-16, with 107 winners across the state also securing her the SA Jockey of the Year and UBET SA Provincial and Country Jockey of the Year titles.
Holder also enjoyed a hugely successful 2015-16 season, clinching the Glennon-Johnson Award for SA Metropolitan Jockey of the Year with 53 city-class wins for the season.
Jason Holder with Brian Mueller after winning the Balaklava Cup with Little Akie. Picture: Mark Brake
It capped a big few days for the 41-year-old, who rode Little Akie to a fast-finishing win in Wednesday’s Balaklava Cup.
Top trainer Phillip Stokes was again a big winner on the night, claiming both the CS Hayes Award for SA Trainer of the Year and the SA Metropolitan Trainer of the Year award. It was his third straight success in each category.
And Stokes’s top-flight sprinter Eclair Choice, who was recently exported to Singapore, was rewarded for a brilliant season, overcoming Happy Trails and Don’t Doubt Mamma to be crowned SA Champion Racehorse of the Year.
The five-year-old gelding won three of seven races for the season, including the Caulfield Sprint and Linlithgow Stakes, both at Group 2 level in Melbourne.
Eclair Choice wins at Flemington. Picture: Michael Klein
The awards nights also featured the induction of legendary jockey Mick Goreham and champion racehorse Durbridge into the SA Racing Hall of Fame.
Goreham rode more than 2000 winners, including 20 at Group 1 level. He also won four SA jockeys’ premierships, the first in 1967-68 as an apprentice to Bart Cummings.
Durbridge, who began his career with the late Brian Murphy before being transferred to the Lee Freedman stables, won 15 Group races including the 1991 AJC Derby, 1993 Orr Stakes and 1994 Australian Cup.
“It’s fantastic to see everyone — from champion jockeys and seasoned trainers to up-and-coming apprentices and thoroughbred racing fans — come together to honour the season’s top performers and our Hall of Fame inductees,” TRSA chief executive Jim Watters said.
“As former winners of the John Letts Medal, Jamie and Jason are clearly forces to be reckoned with on the track and we look forward to seeing where this new season will take them.”
THOROUGHBRED RACING SA AWARDS FOR 2015-16 SEASON
E.J. Mooney Medal for Jumps Jockey – Paul Hamblin
Jumps Trainer – Eric Musgrove
Caitlin Forrest Provincial & Country Apprentice – Emily Finnegan
UBET Metropolitan Apprentice – Caitlin Jones
Evright.com Most Consistent Racehorse – Tunes
UBET Provincial & Country Jockey – Jamie Kah
Jockey of Year – Jamie Kah
UBET Provincial & Country Trainer – Wayne Francis & Glen Kent
Metropolitan Trainer – Phillip Stokes
Leon Macdonald Award for Apprentice – Emily Finnegan
CS Hayes Award for Trainer – Phillip Stokes
Glennon-Johnson Award for Metropolitan Jockey – Jason Holder
Most Outstanding Achievement by Club – Port Lincoln Racing Club
Most Outstanding Achievement by Individual – Barry Dunn
Festival Hire Champion Racehorse – Eclair Choice
John Letts Medal – Jason Holder & Jamie Kah
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Horse – Durbridge
Jockey – Mick Goreham
Originally published as Kah, Holder share spoils at TRSA awards night