Tasmania's leading thoroughbred owner Paul Geard is no stranger to receiving awards but he picked up two of special significance at the 2020-21 presentation dinner in Launceston on Friday night.
His best horse Geegees Blackflash, who was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2016, was elevated to legend status and the horse that was arguably his best-ever buy, Wordsmith, was again Tasmania's leading sire.
The only other horses to have been afforded legend status are Brallos, Sydeston, Malua and Piping Lane.
"I was really pleased to see Blackflash get that recognition," Geard said. "It tops off his career.
"He was really the start of things for us.
"When he won the Derby and his first Hobart Cup it put extra things on our plate for us to kick off with."
Geard also has a soft spot for Wordsmith who he bought, virtually as an after-thought, 11 years ago.
His original intention, or at least his hope, was to buy Written Tycoon but that stallion proved to be out of his price range.
"He sold for $525,000 and I ended up buying Wordsmith for $25,250," Geard recalled.
While Written Tycoon's value is now in the tens of millions, Wordsmith has been a handy acquisition himself.
"He's been Tasmania's leading stallion every season since his oldest progeny turned three," Geard said.
"Last year we had 53 winners of our own and 49 were by Wordsmith.
"He's just turned 18 but looking at him you wouldn't think he was anywhere near that age - he looks a picture."
Geard made a decision last year that he would restrict Wordsmith to his own broodmares but he weakened.
"A few broodmare owners that have been with us from the start wanted to come back so I agreed and I also accepted a couple of others.
"He'll end up with about eight outside mares this season and will serve about 12 of our own."
Wordsmith, by Testa Rossa, was a group 3 winner of four races.
As at the start of this year, he had sired 115 individual winners, placing him right up with the most successful stallions to stand in Tasmania.
Michael O'Grady was recognised for a lifelong contribution to racing with the thoroughbred industry appreciation award.
O'Grady started out in the racing industry at the age 16 and has done everything from training his own horses to riding trackwork, driving trucks, assisting with foaling and prepping yearlings for the sales.
He is currently working for JKB Racing at Longford which paid a fitting tribute on its Facebook page.
"Mick's love for horses and his unwavering work ethic have always remained constant - we can't thank him enough for all that he contributes to not only our stable, but the racing industry in Tasmania as a whole.," it said.
The full list of 2020-21 award winners -
Leading juvenile sire: Wordsmith
Leading Tasmanian-based sire: Wordsmith
Broodmare of the year: Yarra Bank
Leading racemare or filly: Mystic Journey
Media performance award: Codi Jordan
Industry appreciation award: Michael O'Grady
Owner recognition award: Mandy Gunn
Leading trainer: Scott Brunton
Leading jockey: David Pires
Leading apprentice: Codi Jordan
Dux of apprentice school: Erica Byrne Burke
TAN service to the Industry award: Ross & Glenda Jones
2YO of year: Turk Warrior
3YO of year: Swoop Dog
Horse of year: Newhart
Hall Of Fame jockey: Kevin Dodge
Hall Of Fame trainer: Michael Trinder
Hall Of Fame associate: Rod Thirkell-Johnston
Hall Of Fame horses: Andrias, Kats Clause
Hall Of Fame legend: Geegees Blackflash
With Mystic Journey and Still A Star performing so well first-up at Flemington on Saturday, expectations are high for the return of last season's star three-year-old filly Hela at Caulfield this week.
Trainer Scott Brunton has entered Hela for two races - the group 3 $200,000 How Now Stakes and the $75,000 Benchmark 78 Handicap, both over 1200m.
She is a $15 chance with tab.com.au in the all-in market on the How Now.
Hela hasn't raced since failing in the group 1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville on May 1.
She had previously won all seven starts in Tasmania including the listed $100,000 Strutt Stakes.
Pipers River harness trainer Kristy Butler returned home from Devonport on Sunday night with a perfect record.
Butler won with her only two runners, Emrites in the Rating 30-59 and Betterbrown Tiger is the Discretionary Handicap.
Three-year-old filly Emrites made it three wins from eight starts in Tasmania when she led throughout to score easily in 1:59.5.
Bettabrown Tiger raced three wide for the last 1-1/2 laps to score a narrow but tough win at his third start after a spell.
It was the six-year-old's first win from a stand at only his second attempt. He was placed behind Mister Gently and Karalta Dazzler in the Burnie Cup earlier this year.
Troy McDonald regained the premiership lead from Conor Crook with a driving double at Devonport on Guido Da Siena and My Celebrity.
Bronte Miller kept within touch of the leader on the female drivers' premiership with wins in Hobart on Syzate and Launceston on Somedan.
She now has 18 wins for the season, five behind Jordan Chibnall who drove a double the previous week but didn't add to her tally on the weekend.
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