Popular Blackfriars gelding Black Heart Bart was officially crowned The Western Australian Racehorse Owners’ Association (WAROA) Horse of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony on Saturday night at Perth’s Hyatt Hotel.

Black Heart Bart enjoyed a stellar 2015-16 season, racing on 11 occasions across five states for five wins and four placings, the highlight his maiden Group One success in the Goodwood Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville in May.

The WA-owned six-year-old, who is just shy of $2 million in prize money, also won the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield and was runner-up in the Newmarket (1200m) at Flemington, the All Aged Stakes (1400m)) at Randwick and the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm when under the guidance of top Ballarat trainer, Darren Weir.

In Perth for Lark Hill horseman, Vaughn Sigley, Black Heart Bart won three feature races at the commencement of his campaign: the Birthday Stakes (1200m), the Northerly Stakes (1420m) and the WAROA-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m).

Horse of the Year honours was not the only accolade for Black Heart Bart, he capped an outstanding year by winning the 4-Year-Old and Upwards Horse of the Year.
There were no surprises in the juvenile award with Simon Miller’s outstanding filly, Whispering Brook, a unanimous choice as 2-Year-Old Horse of the Year.

The daughter of Hinchinbrook was unbeaten in five starts, chalking up major wins in the Supremacy Stakes (1100m) and Gimcrack Stakes (1100m) before ending a brilliant campaign by taking out the Karrakatta Plate (1200m)-Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) double in April.

Perfect Reflection, trained by Grant Williams and raced by prominent owner-breeder, Bob Peters and his wife Sandra, was named 3-Year-old Horse of the Year.

The More Than Ready mare won her opening five races culminating with a pulsating victory over stable mate, Delicacy in the Kingston Town Classic (1800m) to become the first three-year-old filly to win the Group One feature.

William Pike was a runaway winner in the jockey’s premiership after booting home 135 winners for the season, a new benchmark in WA racing, surpassing Paul Harvey’s previous record of 116 wins in 1999-2000.

It was a much tighter affair in the trainer’s title with Adam Durrant, who prepared 67 city winners, taking home the premiership race from, Grant Williams (63).
Clint Johnston-Porter won Leading Apprentice Rider.

Other award winners on a night dedicated to the women of WA racing included, Lois Taylor and Marjorie Charleson, who were awarded Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s (RWWA) Thoroughbred Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.

Julio Santarelli