Top 10 wins of the 2021/22 racing season

Nature Strip The Everest
Nature Strip’s win in The Everest was one of the wins of the season. (Photo: 7HorseRacing Twitter)

As the curtain falls on the 2021/22 racing season, HorseBetting takes a look back at our top 10 wins from the past 12 months. From the rise to stardom for Incentivise, to the gap job that Anamoe put on his rivals in the autumn, this list has it all. Sit back and enjoy our best wins from the season that was.

10. ZAAKI (Mackinnon Stakes, Flemington)

Zaaki’s win in the 2021 Mackinnon Stakes was a fitting end to the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The star galloper missed out on a run in the Cox Plate a fortnight earlier due to an elevated temperature, but he bounced back in a big way to win the $2 million Flemington feature. James McDonald, who will feature a bit on this list, took him straight to the front from barrier eight, allowing him to roll along on the speed and force his opposition to chase him. The win gave McDonald his 10th for the week and a fourth Group 1 win over the seven-day period. Zaaki got home by 1.25 lengths and defeated eight individual Group 1 winners in the process.

9. WESTERN EMPIRE (Railway Stakes, Ascot)

WA galloper Western Empire made it six-straight victories when saluting by four lengths in November’s Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m). Trained by Grant & Alana Williams, the four-year-old son of Iffraaj looked a moral on paper going into the race, so much so, he started at $1.50 with Australian bookmakers. Guided perfectly by William Pike, Western Empire never looked like getting beaten in the run, but the way he exploded late gave punters something to get excited about. Can he bring that form to the east coast this spring?

8. HITOTSU (Victoria Derby, Flemington)

Unfortunately, we won’t see Hitotsu this spring, but his win in the 2021 Victoria Derby was one for the ages. Going into the 2500m feature off just a 1350m and 1600m run, the experts were saying it couldn’t be done. Gee, did this horse, trainers and jockey prove them wrong. From barrier six, Hitotsu went past the 800m mark with just one runner behind him, but a terrific ride by John Allen saw the son of Maurice weave his way through the pack before punishing his rivals at the business end. The star three-year-old raced away to win by 1.75 lengths in one of the best VRC Derby runs of all time.

7. ANAMOE (Rosehill Guineas, Rosehill Gardens)

Anamoe is one of the best (if not the best) three-year-olds of his generation. A Caulfield Guineas win in the spring, a Cox Plate and Golden Rose runner-up performance and a scintillating 6.5-length romp in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas arguably secures that crown. The James Cummings-trained colt went into the Rosehill Guineas as a $1.70 favourite following a surprise defeat to Converge in the Randwick Guineas the start prior, but he showed who was boss this day. James McDonald took him forward in the six-horse field, following Profondo everywhere he went, before idling by at the top of the lane. The colt continued to extend clear, showing just how good he can be.

6. DUAIS (Tancred Stakes, Newcastle)

Coming in at no.6 is Ed Cummings’ mare Duais. After a brilliant win in the Australian Cup at Flemington, she really put her rivals to the sword in the Tancred Stakes at the transferred Newcastle meeting. It was a wet track and she got a long way back, but she absolutely blew her opponents away. Joshua Parr brought the mare to the outside part of the track and she went from last to first in the blink of an eye before running away by 3.5 lengths. If her autumn campaign is anything to go by, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the spring.

5. FIREBURN (Golden Slipper, Rosehill Gardens)

While Anamoe should have three-year-old of the year sewn up, Fireburn looks a shoe in to win the title of Australia’s best two-year-old. The Gary Portelli-trained filly made it four-straight wins when she came from near last to take out the $5 million Golden Slipper back in March. A cool, calm and collected ride by Brenton Avdulla saw the pair stay down on the fence, pick themselves up after a check before the home turn and absolutely fly to claim the world’s richest two-year-old event by some two and a half lengths. It was one of the best Golden Slipper wins you will see.

4. THINK IT OVER (Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Royal Randwick)

If this list was for the best ride, Nash Rawiller would be first. If it was for the best race of the year, it would be first. Maybe we’ve got it wrong having Think It Over at no.4 for his win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but there are still some corkers to come. Sent out as a $41 chance, Kerry Parker’s champion galloper was written off by many, but Nash had other ideas. On a bottomless Heavy 10 track on the second day of The Championships, Rawiller decided to test the waters on the outside running rail as he set out after Zaaki. It proved to be the fast lane, and Think It Over relished it, gunning down Zaaki and leaving the likes of Verry Elleegant, I’m Thunderstruck, Duais and Anamoe in his wake. It was some ride and some performance.

3. NATURE STRIP (The Everest, Royal Randwick)

While Nature Strip only won The Everest by two-tenths of a length, it was one of the bravest performances you will see from a horse. After leading at his usual breakneck tempo, the superstar sprinter gave a big kick in the straight to get away from his arch-rival, Eduardo, before defying a very late challenge from Masked Crusader, who jumped out of the ground late. The big margin might not have been there, but the fight and sheer speed from such a champion horse certainly was. You might say his TJ Smith Stakes win or even his King’s Stand Stakes run was better – and yes, the gap job was visually impressive – but the way in which he won The Everest was a cut above.

2. INCENTIVISE (Caulfield Cup, Caulfield)

We are getting into the nitty-gritty of this list, and if you had forgotten about Incentivise’s Caulfield Cup win or his rise to fame, buckle up. After winning a maiden at the Sunshine Coast in April 2021, Incentivise went on to record nine-straight wins, culminating with a 3.5-length gap job in the $5 million Caulfield Cup. From barrier 18, Brett Prebble took his medicine, sat wide and got moving early, putting the Queenslander into the race at the 800m and making it a genuine staying test. What he did next was unbelievable, changing legs around the bend and finding another gear – if not two gears. We can’t wait to see him back at the races.

1. VERRY ELLEEGANT (Melbourne Cup, Flemington)

In 2021, Australia’s premier race was won by arguably the best horse in the land, the best jockey and the best trainer. Verry Elleegant, James McDonald and Chris Waller – what a team. The six-year-old mare had to carry 57kg in the Melbourne Cup, but she didn’t let that stop her in what we consider to be the win of the season. Following a saloon run in transit under JMac, Verry Elleegant saw daylight halfway up the straight, went through her gears and bolted in to win the two-mile race by four lengths – one of the biggest winning margins in the Cup we’ve seen. To make the win even more fitting, the great mare took her record to 10 Group 1 wins.

Think we have missed one? Let us know in the comments or on our social media posts.

Latest horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments