Mount Isa galloper Deadly Choices has been named Horse of the Year at the second annual On The Bit Queensland Country Racing Gala Awards night, after a dominant 2019 where he won seven of nine starts - including a current six-win streak.
The function was held in Emerald on Saturday night, celebrating and honouring the successes of regional industry participants.
The last of Deadly Choices' wins came in the TAB Country Cups Challenge Final at Doomben in November, where the Damien Finter trained gelding scored an impressive one-length victory.
It was fitting that Deadly Choices' jockey Dan Ballard was subsequently named Jockey of the Year. Ballard, one of Brisbane's leading apprentice jockeys in the late 90s, made the move north to work in the mines but still maintains his passion for riding on the weekends.
Bevan Johnson rounded out the major awards, taking out Trainer of the Year after his third successive Country Queensland Trainers Premiership in season 2018/19. Johnson, who again sits atop of the current standings, was quick to make mention of the effort that his family put in to make his stable so successful. "Even though it's my name on the trophy, it's really my daughter and wife there as well and that's what makes Johnson Racing," Johnson said.
The night was further highlighted by guest speaker Black Caviar trainer and Charleville boy Peter Moody, who spoke about his ongoing passion for Queensland's racing industry. "It was terrific for me to be involved. My heart lies in regional and rural racing Australia-wide and being a Queensland country boy. It's important that we celebrate our country people - in all facets of life but obviously for our racing community," he said.
Jack Murray of the Eidsvold Race Club was crowned Club Person of the Year - a fine acknowledgement for more than 60 years of dedicated service to the regional industry.
The ceremonies concluded with six inductees welcomed into the On The Bit Country Queensland Hall of Fame. Trainers John Manzelmann, Neville Peoples and Les McLennan were honoured, as well as jockey Ken Waller and industry participant Jack Murray. Miss Petty - winner of 22 consecutive bush races in the 80s for Blackall trainer Charlie Prow - was also inducted.