Vote now for your Jumps Horse of the Year
THE Racing Post has teamed up with Racing For Change and Sandown racecourse to host the prestigious Horse of the Year Award, which is decided by a public vote and was won last year by Big Buck's.
Five truly deserving candidates have been shortlisted by representatives from Britain and Ireland, including the senior handicappers at the BHA and the Turf Club.
The horses were chosen due to their official rating or their promotion of jump racing - or a combination of the two. The contenders are:
Big Buck's: The current holder of this title made sporting history when winning his 17th consecutive race over jumps on the opening day of the John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree. Owned by The Stewart Family and trained by current champion, Paul Nicholls, this wasn't his only magic moment of the season as this incredible horse won five races during 2011-12, including his fourth consecutive Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Kauto Star: This courageous horse brought tears to the eyes of the racing public when, at the grand age of 11, he won his fifth King George VI Chase, reclaiming the crown from his younger counterpart, Long Run. If that wasn't enough, he also repelled the same rival when winning the Betfair Chase for the fourth time. Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Clive Smith, Kauto Star received rapt applause before he'd even stepped onto the track for the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Synchronised: Trained by Jonjo O'Neill, Synchronised leapt into our imaginations with a heroic performance during the 2011-12 season, first winning the Grade 1 Lexus Chase in Ireland. Before his tragic death in the John Smith's Grand National, he landed Britain’s most prestigious race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, under an inspired ride by Tony McCoy. This gave his owner JP McManus his first win in a race he has been watching for over 40 years.
Sprinter Sacre: This brilliant six-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Caroline Mould, has never finished outside the top three during his 11 race career and is unbeaten this season. His races weren't just any old races either – his wins included the Racing Post Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival and the John Smith’s Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree.
Finian's Rainbow: He has not finished out of the top two this season, winning three out of four races. Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Michael Buckley, his most prestigious win came at this year's Cheltenham Festival when he won the crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, holding off Sizing Europe. He also won the Grade 1 John Smith's Melling Chase at the recent Aintree meeting.
Voting will close at midnight on Wednesday, April 25 and the winner will be announced at Sandown on Saturday April, 28.