While Not A Single Doubt was attacking the new season’s stallion premiership with a stunning Group race double at Moonee Valley, his son Clearly Innocent was being honoured for last season’s achievements in Sydney.
The 5YO gelding picked up the Country Horse of the Year Award at the NSW Country & Provincial Racing Awards dinner held at the Sheraton on the Park on Friday evening.
Bred and raced by Bruce Neill’s Cressfield, Clearly Innocent is out of the Zabeel mare No Penalty, a city-winning member of a family nurtured for many years at New Zealand’s Chequers Stud and responsible for Group 1 winners Veloso, Domino, Sale Of Century, Hero & Linky Dink.
Clearly Innocent emerged from the stable of leading country trainer Greg Bennett to win seven of his 10 starts last season. He capped it all with a brilliant win in the Country Championship Final followed by victory in the Scone RC Luskin Star S. LR. That took his earnings past $500,000 and sealed his bush hero status with country racing fans.
Bennett rates Clearly Innocent the best horse he’s trained and is now Melbourne-bound after the gelding’s pipe-opening sixth in The Shorts G2 two weeks ago. The 1400-metre Moonga Stakes G3 at Caulfield on 15 October will be his next start.