The Australian racing season came to an end on Friday, and with it ended the race for many prestigious training and jockey premierships.
In the Southern District Racing Association, Trevor Sutherland won the overall trainer’s title convincingly with 46 winners, finishing well ahead of David Hayes on 26 and Mitchell Beer on 25.
The popular Wagga trainer, who has now won the SDRA training premiership six times, said any win was good and touched on a tough year for racing participants.
“Anything is good to win and to get 47.5wins, it was a very nice year,” Sutherland said.
“With the mishaps and all the meetings we missed in the year, it was a pretty good effort.”
Sutherland said his stable missed out on nearly 20 opportunities to get more winners, but admitted it was somewhat a blessing in disguise, with a large majority of his team rising to the occasion.
“Despite everything, I think it’s the best season we have ever had because we missed a few meetings and some of our horses were able to run well at better meetings,” Sutherland said.
Accordingly, the country stable won over $900,000 in prizemoney, which exceeded Sutherland’s expectations in spite of limited racing.
“It was a hell of a year. I aim for $900,000 (in prizemoney) and 50 winners every year and I think we missed 15 to 20 meetings, which are picnic or not-tabbers,” Sutherland said.
“There is nothing to say we wouldn’t have got a few doubles at those and it could have been an even better year if anything, but we are really happy.”
Sutherland also finished fifth in the NSW country trainer’s premiership and believes the result is a testament to his hard-working team.
“We ran fifth in country NSW and 18th or 19h overall, which isn’t too shabby,” Sutherland said.
“We were able to keep on all of our staff in what has been a tough period and we have been working seven days a week for these results.”
Sutherland was excited about the future and said the 2020/21 racing season could be the stables biggest yet.
“We have an exciting team this year and I have never had such a good team leading into a season,” Sutherland said.
“We have chipped away and we have a few new faces and we will continue to poke along and do our thing.”
In the hotly contested SDRA jockey’s premiership, Blaike McDougall didn’t have things all his own way, with Tyler Schiller making a late dash, while the Albury hoop was sidelined with a suspension.
Still, McDougall finished on top with 59 winners, while Schiller got close on 56 and Brodie Loy rode 40.
McDougall said he ticked every box this season and hoped to continue building over the next 12 months.
“My goal was just to try and build on the season before,” McDougall said.
“I won the country apprentice of the year title last season and this year I wanted to win the country senior rider of the year, which I did.
“To break 100 winners and get the SDRA premiership was a bonus and it feels pretty good.”
McDougall will still have some time to ponder what might have been though, after leading the NSW–wide jockeys’ premiership earlier this month before a four-week suspension effectively handed Andrew Gibbons the title.
Still, McDougall is keeping positive and said he will start preparing for the next season
“I’m still suspended but in the next week, I’ll probably sit down and set a few goals and at this stage I am pretty comfortable with where I am,’ McDougall said.
“I would love to get an offer to go somewhere but you can’t go somewhere without strong support system and that is what I have here right now.”
SDRA Trainer standings
Trevor Sutherland 46
David Hayes 26
Mitch Beer 25
Phil Sweeney 25
Gary Colvin 16
SDRA jockey standings
Blaike McDougall 59
Tyler Schiller (a) 56
Brodie Loy 40
Simon Miller 26
Kayla Nisbet 23