Multiple Group winner Leos Best was crowned the UBET 2017 Queensland Harness Horse of the Year in Brisbane on Sunday night, with three-time winner Avonnova dethroned for the first time since 2014.
The win capped off a memorable night for Leos Best’s trainer-driver Grant Dixon, who went home with six individual awards including a sixth-straight Queensland Trainer of the Year title, and the Harness Racing Australia Trainer of the Year Award.
It was also a memorable night for owners Kevin and Kay Seymour, who took home multiple awards.
Mr Seymour said he got a thrill out of taking Leos Best south to win a Group 2 at Menangle in February.
"He won well there agaisnt the very top horses down south," he said.
"I think that's what leads (trainer) Grant (Dixon) to thinking he can go down and take on the major feature events as a five-year-old."
Leos Best finished ahead of stablemate Colt Thirty One, Bettorthanspecial and Avonnova to claim the coveted title, after earlier claiming the Queensland Aged Pacer of the Year Award.
The 2016/17 season was one to savour for the connections of Leos Best, which started 20 times for 13 wins and three minor placings, including three wins in Group company.
Melpark Royal Son was crowned Queensland Trotter of the Year, in a season which included eight of the horse’s nine career wins, with the highlight being the $40,000 Group 2 DJ Alexander Championship Final at Albion Park in December.
Bettorthanspecial was crowned Queensland Filly or Mare of the Year, with Colt Thirty One (2YO Pacer), Clintal Do (3YO Pacer) and Bronski Gorgeous (Broodmare) among other equine winners on the night.
Australian World Drivers Championship representative Shane Graham was recognised as Queensland Driver of the Year for a third-straight year, after guiding home 185 winners en route to winning the Queensland Drivers’ Premiership.
"I was one told the ifrst premiership is the easiest and everyone after that is hard," Graham said.
"Once you win that first one you have to keep bettering yourself."
Nathan Dawson was crowned Queensland Concession Driver of the Year, and received an award for winning the Redcliffe Drivers’ Premiership.
The Owner of the Year title went to Shannon Price (Raboki Pty Ltd), while Kevin and Kay Seymour’s Solid Earth Pty Ltd was recognised as Queensland Breeder of the Year.
‘Freak of the Creek’ Destreos was inducted into the Hall of Fame, alongside trainer/driver Graeme Bowyer, breeder Mark Lichtwark and associate Gary Keep.
Each of the three harness clubs also presented awards to the leading participants and horses at their respective tracks in 2016/17.
All winners on the night are listed below.
2017 UBET Queensland Harness Horse of the Year
Seelite Windows and Doors Trotter of the Year
Melpark Royal Son
Trainer of the Year
Driver of the Year
The Courier-Mail Filly/Mare of the Year
International Animal Health Products Aged Pacer of the Year
3YO Pacer of the Year
Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Pacer of the Year
Colt Thirty One
QRIC Broodmare of the Year
QRIC Breeder of the Year
Solid Earth Pty Ltd (Kevin and Kay Seymour)
James Boag’s Premium Owner of the Year
Raboki Pty Ltd (Shannon Price)
Radio TAB Concession Driver of the Year
Sky Racing Hall of Fame Associate Inductee
Sky Racing Hall of Fame Breeder
Sky Racing Hall of Fame Horse
Sky Racing Hall of Fame Trainer/Driver
Harness Racing Australia Trainer of the Year
Lin and Laurie Feehly Redcliffe Pegasus Award
Kevin and Kay Seymour Queensland Young Achiever Awards
Leonard Cain and Narissa McMullen
BOTRA and Yatala Harness Racing Club Rising Stars
Lachie Manzelmann and Taleah McMullen
BOTRA and Yatala Harness Racing Club Centurion Medal (Drivers)
Shane Graham, Grant Dixon, Mathew Neilson, Pete McMullen, Nathan Dawson, Gary Whitaker and Narissa McMullen
BOTRA and Yatala Harness Racing Club Centurion Medal (Trainers)
Grant Dixon, Vicki Rasmussen, Chantal Turpin, Jack Butler, Darrel Graham.
Marburg Harness Racing Club Awards – sponsored by Garrard’s
Horse of the Year: Domestic Art
Drivers’ Premiership: Gary Whitaker
Trainer of the Year: Tess Neaves
Redcliffe Harness Racing Club Awards – sponsored by Garrard’s
Horse of the Year: Royal Taz
Drivers’ Premiership: Nathan Dawson
Trainers’ Premiership: Grant Dixon
Concession Driver of the Year: Nathan Dawson
Mare of the Year: Flashing Good Time (NZ) and Rockstar Rikki (NZ)
Albion Park Harness Racing Club Awards – Sponsored by Garrard’s
Horse of the Year: Joys A Babe
Drivers Premiership: Shane Graham
Trainers Premiership: Grant Dixon
Owner of the Year: Solid Earth Pty Ltd (Kevin and Kay Seymour)
Mare of the Year: Joys A Babe