It’s Me crowned NSW country horse of the year

The Brett Cavanough trained It’s Me has been named the 2020/21 NSW Racehorse Owners Association champion country horse of the year. Photo: Steve Hart Photographics.

Brett Cavanough’s unbeaten mare, It’s Me, capped off a wonderful 2020/21 season of racing on Saturday when crowed the NSW Racehorse Owners Association champion country horse of the year. 

Coming up against the likes of Country Championships winner Art Cadeau, listed race winner and country racing stalwart Handle the Truth and multiple group-placed youngster Rocket Tiger, It’s Me did well to win the award.

“It was great to win,” Cavanough said. 

“Those other horses are bloody good horses, and you would love to train any of them, but it was very satisfying to see her win.”

The Shamus Award mare that is out of It’s You was a worthy recipient though, having kicked off her four-start career, winning a 1000m country maiden at Scone on August 4.

Following on from her impressive debut, the five-year-old teamed up with Jason Collett, winning a 1100m Class Two TAB Highway at Royal Randwick in late August, before backing up at headquarters the following month, winning a Class Three 1000m TAB Highway Handicap.

After being selected to contest the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko, It’s Me started an even money favourite and with Collett in the saddle, was made to work hard, flashing home late to beat Redouble and Man of Peace, etching her name in the history books. 

It’s Me has now earned over $800,000 in prizemoney for connections and Cavanough highlighted that she was truly just a country mare that had risen to the occasion when called upon.

“She is the pin-up girl, there is no two ways about that, she is a good mare,” Cavanough said. 

“She is a country horse that hasn’t been out of country grade yet. She has won $800,000 for the owners and she is what racing is all about.

“The most satisfying thing for myself is that she was broken in and educated here at home, which makes winning these awards and these races all the more satisfying.” 

Saturday was a big day for Grand Syndicates, with their ‘pin-up girl’ earning horse of the year honours, while down in Victoria, Behemoth won his second Group 1 Memsie Stakes for the popular syndicators. 

“Grand Syndicates had a good day; Behemoth wins a Group One and Its Me wins country horse of the year,’ Cavanough said. 

“They deserve it. They have been great supporters of mine and great supporters of racing.”

It’s Me is now being set for the 2021 The Kosciusko, with Cavanough planning for his mare to become the first horse in the race’s short history to go back-to-back. 

“She came back into work on Monday, she worked on the course proper at Scone today (Saturday) and it’s good to have her back – there is a lot of excitement around her at the moment,” Cavanough said. 

The Scone trainer said he wouldn’t rush It’s Me either and while he admitted the rich country race was the focus, he explained that there were other big races in mind for his unbeaten mare.

“I am just feeling my way with her. I have seven weeks (until The Kosciuszko) from today, so we are in a good situation. There is no pressure from Grand Syndicates to bust her or anything,” Cavanough said.

“We will just take it day-by-day, obviously we have The Kosciuszko on our mind, but there are plenty of races afterwards.”