Racing: 6 wins at 6 give Stepitup top award

After a superb year, Stepitup has been invited to run in one of Australia's richest races in April - the A$4 million(S$4 million) Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2,000m at Randwick in Sydney.
After a superb year, Stepitup has been invited to run in one of Australia's richest races in April - the A$4 million(S$4 million) Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2,000m at Randwick in Sydney.TNP FILE PHOTO

Proving that age is no barrier to success, six-year-old galloper Stepitup was named the 2015 Singapore Horse of the Year at last night's Singapore Racing Awards ceremony.

The Australian-bred gelding had a disappointing 2014 season, notching just one win from 11 starts. But he enjoyed a new lease of life last term with six victories from 12 starts - five of those triumphs were in Group races.

Prepared by nine-time champion trainer Laurie Laxon of New Zealand, Stepitup also captured the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown Series - the Kranji Mile (1,600m) and the Raffles Cup (1,800m) - both Group 1 events.

The former three-year-old champion was also voted Champion Older Horse at yesterday's gala event at the Regent Hotel.

Kiwi Mark Walker, a five-time champion trainer back home, picked up his first championship in Singapore thanks to his 86 victories last season. Singaporean handler Alwin Tan finished runner-up in the trainer's standings for the second straight year.

Brazilian jockey Manoel Nunes also made it back-to-back premiership titles after booting home 123 winners despite missing one month of riding through suspension.

He said: "It's very satisfying to win again and especially to improve on my 2014 total of 108 winners. The season has just started and I'm going to work even harder to make it a hat-trick of premiership titles."

The champion apprentice crown went to Malaysian rider Shafiq Rizuan, four years after his first apprentice title in 2011.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline '6 wins at 6 give Stepitup top award'. Print Edition | Subscribe