MULTIPLE Group One winner Tornado Valley joined an elite fraternity of trotters this evening.
During Harness Racing Victoria’s Gordon Rothacker Medal festivities Tornado Valley was named Victorian Horse of the Year.
As such Tornado Valley became just the sixth squaregaiter to capture the prestigious title since its inauguration in 1973.
The immortal Maori’s Idol was the ground breaker in 1978 followed by True Roman in 1988, Noopy Kiosk in 1996, Knight Pistol in ’97 and Sundons Gift in 2010.
Enjoying a phenomenal 2018/19 season, Tornado Valley won 11 of his 12 starts for trainer Andy Gath.
Driven throughout the term by Gath’s wife Kate, Tornado Valley secured four Group Ones including the revamped Trotters’ Inter Dominion.
It is the third time a Gath-trained performer has annexed the award, with Caribbean Blaster triumphant in 2013 and ’14.
Tornado Valley was also a natural choice for Aged Trotting Stallion/Gelding of the Year.
In what was a great night for the Gaths, their stable also prepared the Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year, Majestuoso, and Four-Year-Old Trotting Mare of the Year, Moonlight Dream.
Premier horsewoman Emma Stewart also snared numerous ‘gongs’ with her outstanding squad.
Maajida and Be Happy Mach were recognised as the leading two-year-old pacers, while Poster Boy and Pistol Abbey claimed the four-year-old divisions.
Kualoa and Tell Me Tales rounded out a big night for Stewart with their crowning as Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year and Aged Mare of the Year.
Max Delight, trained by David Aiken, is Kualoa’s male counterpart.
Exciting prospect Jaxnme – a member of the Russell Jack stable – is the Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year, with Is That A Bid the top colt/gelding for Michael Hughes.
Dual Oaks winner Royal Charlotte, prepared by Paul Males, is the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year.
Anton Golino’s highly-successful stable of squaregaiters boasts the Four-Year-Old Trotting Entire/Gelding of the Year in Majestic Player and Aged Trotting Mare of the Year, Dance Craze.
Last, but not least, the ever-popular San Carlo – co-trained by Stephen O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley – is the Aged Pacing Stallion/Gelding of the Year.