As Yankee Rose was named the New Zealand Bloodstock Champion 3YO Filly Australian Racehorse of the Year Award on Sunday, former part owner Mark Slack-Smith couldn’t help but ponder what could have been.
After a short – but spectacular – injury-plagued career, the dual Group 1 winner was sold after a disappointing ninth in the Memsie Stakes and has been retired to stud.
“We thought this spring, we would see the best of her,” Tamworth’s Slack-Smith said of Yankee Rose.
“We hit a good three track first up and it just created problems with her feet.
“If it was a softer track, who knows what could have happened. Her times on the track were better than any other preparation.
“In saying that, I’m pretty happy to see her retied in the sense she doesn't have to have that hard training and the pressure on her joints and feet.”
While Slack-Smith isn’t out of the racing game, he isn’t under the illusion he’ll own another horse like Yankee Rose.
“The heart’s bigger than the body, she’s a prime example of that,” Slack-Smith said.
“She wasn’t a big filly, she wasn't the strongest but she must have had a good set of lungs.
“We’ll be following her for sure. She holds a special place in our hearts.
“There’ll only be one Yankee Rose in my lifetime.”
Yankee Rose wasn’t the only horse with a Tamworth connection who won at the awards ceremony.
She Will Reign – who is part owned by Andrew and Bianca Pieper and will race in The Everest at Randwick on Saturday – was named the Racing Queensland Champion 2YO at the awards.
UBET 2017 Australian Racehorse of the Year Award Winners
Racing Queensland Champion 2YO: She Will Reign
New Zealand Bloodstock Champion 3YO Filly: Yankee Rose
James Boag’s Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding: Flying Artie
International Animal Health Products Champion Sprinter: Chautauqua
Magic Millions Champion Middle Distance: Winx
Racing Queensland Champion Stayer: Jameka
Radio TAB Champion Jumper: Wells
UBET Australian Racehorse of the Year: Winx
The Courier-Mail Champion Group 1 Jockey: Hugh Bowman
The Bart Cummings Award (Sponsored by Sky Racing): Chris Waller
HQ Insurance Champion Sire: Snitzel