The European version of the Eclipse Awards was conducted last night and it produced mostly expected results. Dylan Thomas was pronounced Horse Of The Year and Champion Older Horse.
I have long considered the Cartier Awards as a good model for us to fashion the Eclipse Awards after. Here is a brief description of how they are decided.
"The eight horse awards were decided by a tried and tested combination of points achieved in Pattern races, the views of racing journalists on Cartier's Racing Panel, and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph.
The Pattern races counted towards 40 per cent of the total, with the Cartier Racing Panel's deliberations also having a 40 per cent share and the votes of the newspaper readers making up the final 20 per cent."
This is, in my opinion an ideal model. A combination of points earned by accomplishments, professional opinion and even a little fan voting. The TCR which I conduct on this blog operate on a similar model. The second annual TCR awards will be open for voting on Jan 1st.
Here is a list of the award winners.
Horse Of The Year - Dylan Thomas
Two-Year-Old Filly - Natagora
Two-Year-Old Colt - New Approach
Three-Year-Old Colt -Authorized
Three-Year-Old Filly - Peeping Fawn
Stayer - Yeats
Sprinter - Red Clubs
Older Horse - Dylan Thomas
I applaud the Cartier Award organization for taking this approach to handing out year end honors. There are only two criticism's I have with it.
First they need to find a way to get the point standings out in circulation. It's great that they have points that are calculated as the year goes along but they're losing the chance to promote races based on those points.
Second, I think they need to look at the accuracy of their point system. Last year only 2 of the 8 Award winners were at the top of their divisional point standings. This year they came up with a much improved 6 of 8 but when you consider that a point system like the TCR (which was not created specifically with European racing in mind) would have gone 7 for 8 this year and 5 for 8 last year it's easy to see that improvement is possible.
If you want to see a comparison of the Cartier Award Point Standings and the TCR European version you can visit this link. The TCR once again proves itself to be quite accurate.
I do wonder how Red Clubs ended up as the top sprinter. He must have had a ton of voting support and looking at his past performances I simply cannot imagine why. He was the second ranked Sprinter in the Cartier Point Standings and 6th in the TCR Sprinter Standings. He went 7-1-1-1 on the year and had nothing close to a championship type campaign.
Still on the whole it's a well thought out process and the Eclipse Awards would be well advised to take a page or two from our European friends.