2015 Cartier Awards Announced In London

Cartier Awards Announced In London

Tonight (Tuesday) saw the annual Cartier Awards announced in London with no massive surprises after the votes were finally counted

Despite stiff competition, the John Gosden trained Golden Horn has won the Horse of the Year Award and the Three year Old Colt of the Year Award as well, doubling up thanks to a stellar season that saw victories in the Dante Stakes at York, Epsom Derby (by three and a half lengths), the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, Irish Champion Stakes, and Arc De Triomphe as well as a second in the Breeders Cup Turf where he ran his heart out on unsuitably soft going. Sadly, thanks to the way the finances of our sport work he will now be rushed off to stud without proving himself against next year’s Classic winners, though for some reason he never endeared himself to the British public, possibly arriving on the scene a little too soon after the legend that was Frankel.

With a long list of awards, Solow gained some consolation for what was possibly a narrow defeat in the main division with a win in the Older Horse category, and thoroughly deserved it was too. Freddie Head has done a superb job with the five year old, racking up nine consecutive wins since August 2014, five of them at Group One level, and with career earnings of over £4,000,000! Somehow, he has kept him fresh form his first win this season at Chantilly back in March all the way through to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, which is some training performance, and his season may not even be over yet with Hong Kong in December very much a possibility.

The sprinters were next on the roll call, and again no great surprise to see the Charlie Hills trained Muhaarar scoop top spot after a great season that saw victories in the main sprint races this season at Ascot (twice), Newmarket, and Deauville, all Group Ones, and with an average winning distance of over a length despite hold up tactics each and every race. Sadly, just like Golden Horn, he will be rushed off to stud (maybe Sheik Hamdan needs the money?), leaving a pretty big void in the sprinting division, but no one can claim he doesn’t deserve this prize in a division where consistency is notoriously difficult to produce.

To be fair, none of the other awards caused any surprises to the audience either as Legatissimo took the top three year old filly trophy for owners Michael Tabor, Mrs John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, and with her ultra consistency there are no complaints here, even if she did let us down in Kentucky. After a fourth on her return at Leopardstown she never looked back and finished in the first two in all her other seven races that included victories in the 1000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes, and Matron Stakes (all Group Ones) as well as short head seconds in the Epsom Oaks and Pretty Polly Stakes and her win was a foregone conclusion (with Covert Love the only possible danger), leading us to the Stayers crown which went to a filly for a change. Simple Verse won the St Leger at Doncaster, then lost it in the Stewards room only to get it back on appeal, before taking the Fillies and Mares race on Champions Day at Ascot, so perhaps deserves this prize, though it does worry us a little that the “Stayers” title goes to a horse who has never raced beyond a mile and three quarters?

No great surprise either that both two year old awards head over the Irish Sea to the Aidan O’Brien yard (again), this time with 2000 Guineas favourite Air Force Blue (winner of four of his five starts including the Dewhurst Stakes), and Minding (improved race by race and ran away with the Fillies’ mile), but the biggest cheer of the evening was saved for Award Of Merit winner Jack Berry. Always a popular character as a trainer, he has since thrown all his time and effort in to fund raising until the opening of the £3 million Jack Berry House this year which provides state of the art facilities for injured jockeys on the road to recovery in the North of England. Now aged 78, it may be time for Jack to retire but somehow we doubt it – the man is a human dynamo and we suspect we haven’t seen the last of him just yet!

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