Cartier Awards next Tuesday evening are European Racing’s Oscars.

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Luxury jewellery brand Cartier are one of many “top class” products involved in racing sponsorship these days and are responsible for the annual Cartier Awards for European racing, an eagerly anticipated dinner that involves a veritable “Who’s Who” of the racing World – by invitation only, of course.

With a total of nine awards handed out to the already rich and famous, last year saw the amazing Kingman allocated Horse of The Year for John Gosden after his many successes, with Noble Mission (Older Horse), Leading Light (Top Stayer), Sole Power (Top Sprinter), Kingman (Top 3yo Colt), Taghrooda (Top 3yo filly), Gleneagles (Top 2yo colt), Tiggy Wiggy (Top 2yo filly), and Hamdan Al Maktoum (Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit) the other lucky recipients.

This year (2015) sees the 25th Awards so no doubt it will be something extra special on the night (my invitation must be lost in the post!), and there will be some atmosphere at the Dorchester Hotel next Tuesday,

The four nominations for Cartier Horse Of The Year include two 2015 Classic winners, Golden Horn (trained by John Gosden) and Legatissimo (David Wachman) who are up against a couple of remarkable horses, three-year-old sprinter Muhaarar (Charles Hills) and five-year-old Solow (Freddy Head). Golden Horn was the impressive winner of the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on the first Saturday in June and gained three more Group One victories, including in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, during 2015, while Legatissimo captured the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in early May, was beaten a short-head in two other Classics and won two more Group Ones. Solow remained unbeaten all year, collecting an amazing five consecutive Group One victories, culminating in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO on British Champions Day at Ascot last month, while Muhaarar has proved an outstanding speedster, winning four Group One sprints. We won’t be betting on the outcome but if it was our choice then surely Solow has to be likeliest winner with such an amazing race record?

The Cartier Older Horse category sees Solow taken on by two mares and a filly. The wonderful mare Treve (Criquette Head-Maarek), the 2013 Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, won two more Group Ones this year and came fourth when trying for an unprecedented third Arc success. Four-year-old filly Amazing Maria (David O’Meara), who won two Group Ones, and five-year-old mare Esoterique (Andre Fabre), also a dual Group One winner in 2015, are the others up for glory, though once again, Solow is our idea of the deserving winner though whether others agree is open to question for now?

The top three-year-old colts have been outstanding in 2015, exemplified by Golden Horn and Muhaarar. Last year’s Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Gleneagles (Aidan O’Brien), winner of two Classics, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh, plus Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes, and Golden Horn’s stable companion Jack Hobbs (John Gosden), successful in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, are the other contenders for the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award. Whether recent defeat of Golden Horn in Kentucky is still fresh in the memory (as is the empty space in my wallet) or not is unclear, but our vote would be for Muhaarar – we haven’t seen such a dominant sprinter in many a year.

Turning to the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly division, Covert Love (Hugo Palmer), Legatissimo (David Wachman) and Simple Verse (Ralph Beckett) each won a European Classic during 2015 and Found (Aidan O’Brien) came second in one before success in the Grade One Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. This looks a tough one to call with heart possibly overruling head as we vote for Covert Love for the likeable Hugo Palmer, very much an up and coming young trainer with a horse to match his ambitions at last.

The Cartier Sprinter nominations are Muhaarar plus Goldream (Robert Cowell), winner of two Group Ones over five furlongs, Mecca’s Angel (Michael Dods), another Group One winner at the minimum distance, and Twilight Son (Henry Candy), unbeaten until running second to Muhaarar in the Group One British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October. At the risk of sounding repetitive, Muhaarar has been amazing and ought to be a shoe in to take this – unless the powers that be have decided to share the prizes more equally, of course!

One of the most fiercely-fought-over categories in 2015 is the Cartier Stayer Award. Trip To Paris (Ed Dunlop) made the first impact by winning the Group One Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June and ended the year with a very creditable fourth in Australia’s most famous race, the Group One Emirates Melbourne Cup, while three-year-old Vazirabad (Alain de Royer-Dupre), owned by the Aga Khan, has progressed spectacularly and won his last five races, gaining his first Group One, the Prix Royal-Oak, at Saint-Cloud on October 25. The other two nominations are Simple Verse, winner of a dramatic renewal of Britain’s final and oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger, at Doncaster in September, follwed by the Fillies and Mares on Champions Day, and Order Of St George (Aidan O’Brien) who ran away with the Group One Palmerston House Estate Irish St Leger. Although perhaps a less fashionable choice, we rather hope that Simple Verse takes this for trainer Ralph Beckett after a quite amazing season.

Air Force Blue (Aidan O’Brien), a three-time Group One winner, Buratino (Mark Johnston), who beat Air Force Blue in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, Group One victor Johannes Vermeer (Aidan O’Brien) and Shalaa (John Gosden), with two successes at the highest level, vie for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Although Aidan O’Brien is looking for his 28th Cartier Award here we really like the way Shalaa went about his work and would hope for another Gosden success on Tuesday evening.

Acapulco (Wesley Ward), an American winner at Royal Ascot, Ballydoyle (Aidan O’Brien), a Group One winner in France, Lumiere (Mark Johnston), a Group One winner at Newmarket, and very impressive Dubai Fillies’ Mile scorer Minding (Aidan O’Brien) are the nominations for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award, and this time we can see an O’Brien victory – Minding oozes class and would be a very worthy winner.

Harry Herbert, Cartier’s Racing Consultant, commented: “We have experienced a wonderful season of racing during 2015.

“The nominations for this year’s Cartier Racing Awards highlight the incredible talent among Europe’s racehorses.

“The Cartier Racing Awards’ evening has an amazing atmosphere and I look forward to revealing the winners on the evening of November 10 when we will be celebrating the 25th edition of the annual Cartier Racing Awards.

“Cartier has been steadfast in its support for European horseracing and to reach this landmark is tremendous.”

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