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2021 Industry Awards

HOF2021

Jockey Jessica Eaton has capped off a brilliant season in the saddle to win South Australian Racing’s most coveted award.

The 27-year-old has been honoured with the prestigious John Letts Medal which recognises excellence in riding and outstanding achievements at all race meetings across South Australia during the season.

Eaton was presented with the medal at the Racing SA Hall of Fame and Industry Awards held on Saturday night, August 28 at Morphettville.

The event recognises the top jockeys, trainers, horses and administrators for the 2020/21 racing season across 14 industry award categories.

In addition to Eaton, top jockeys Todd Pannell and Kayla Crowther, emerging rider Jacob Opperman, Murray Bridge-based trainers Michael Hickmott and Grant Young, and equine stars Behemoth and Savatoxl were among those honoured at the gala event.

Gun apprentice Jacob Opperman claimed three awards in a breakout season which saw him steer home five winners at headquarters in June as well as ride in a Group 1 during the Adelaide Carnival.

The 17-year-old, who hails from the South-East of SA, was named the Provincial and Country Apprentice Jockey of the Year, Metropolitan Apprentice of the Year and South Australian Apprentice of the Year.  

Senior jockey Todd Pannell was honoured with both the Metropolitan and South Australian Jockey Premiership for the second year in a row.

While fellow rider Kayla Crowther was recognised as Provincial and Country Jockey of the Year following another consistent season.  

The keenly contested South Australian Champion Horse of the Year category was taken out by Behemoth trained by Goolwa-based David Jolly.

Behemoth upstaged fellow finalists Instant Celebrity and Gytrash to win the award following his wins in last year’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Group 1 Memsie Stakes, both at Caulfield, as well as the Spring Stakes at Morphettville.

Michael Hickmott confirmed his emergence as a powerhouse in SA’s training ranks, winning his first Metropolitan Trainers Premiership, securing the title with 40 city wins from father-and-son training combination Tony and Calvin McEvoy (38).

The McEvoy stable was awarded the South Australian Trainer of the Year as well as being recognised for their efforts to train Goodwood winner Savatoxl who was honoured as Best Performed Horse.

Murray Bridge-based Grant Young was recognised as Provincial and Country Trainer of the Year for the third time.

Balaklava Racing Club’s unique partnership with volunteer group Balaklava Community Services was recognised with the Most Outstanding Achievement Award by an Individual or Volunteer Group. The community group raises funds which assist both the Club and those in need in the wider community.

While the South Australian Jockey Club was recognised with the accolade for Most Outstanding Achievement by a Club for the owners’ initiative run during the 2021 Adelaide Racing Carnival as well as delivering the Adelaide Cup in the face of Covid-19.

Held alongside the industry awards, five respected figures were inducted into the South Australian Racing Hall of Fame at the event including associate Frances Nelson, jumps jockey Robert Cook, trainer John Hill and horses Happy Trails and Auraria.

More information on this year’s Hall of Fame inductees can be found here.

2020/21 SA Thoroughbred Racing Industry Award Winners

Caitlin Forrest 2020/21 South Australian Provincial and Country Apprentice Jockey of the Year

Jacob Opperman

TAB 2020/21 - South Australian Metropolitan Apprentice Jockey of the Year

Jacob Opperman

Leon Macdonald Award for 2020/21 South Australian Apprentice of the Year

Jacob Opperman

TAB 2020/21 South Australian Provincial and Country Trainer of the Year

Grant Young

CS Hayes Award for 2020/21 South Australian Trainer of the Year

Tony & Calvin McEvoy

2020/21 South Australian Metropolitan Trainer of the Year

Michael Hickmott

2020/21 Most Outstanding Achievement Award by a Club 

South Australian Jockey Club – Owner initiative

2020/21 Most Outstanding Achievement Award by an Individual or Volunteer Group

Balaklava Racing Club – Balaklava Community Services

Evright.com 2020/21 South Australian Best Performed Horse

Savatoxl

Festival Hire 2020/21 South Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year

Behemoth

TAB 2020/21 South Australian Provincial and Country Jockey of the Year

Kayla Crowther

Glennon–Johnson Award for 2020/21 South Australian Metropolitan Jockey of the Year

Todd Pannell

2020/21 South Australian Jockey of the Year

Todd Pannell

2020/21 John Letts Medal

Jessica Eaton