Roaring Lion has been revealed as the 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards, European horseracing's equivalent of the Oscars.
Owned by Qatar Racing Limited, the outstandingly talented and consistent 3-year-old colt becomes the fourth Cartier Horse Of The Year in the last five years to be trained by John Gosden at Newmarket, following on from Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017).
Purchased as a yearling by Qatar Racing's racing manager David Redvers at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for US$160,000, the son of Kitten's Joy enjoyed an outstanding year with victories in three G1 contests over 10 furlongs in the space of just over two months from July to September – the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, the Juddmonte International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Roaring Lion followed up on those superb wins with a fourth straight G1 success when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day on October 20. If that were not enough, Roaring Lion also ran a great race on his only attempt at 12 furlongs when a close third behind Masar in Britain's premier Classic, the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs in June.
Three of the other four nominations for Cartier Horse of the Year, Enable, Stradivarius and Cracksman – the 2017 Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt – are also trained by Gosden. The final nomination for Cartier Horse Of The Year honors was Alpha Centauri.
Enable, the Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier 3-Year-Old Filly in 2017, narrowly lost out on becoming the third horse, following on from Frankel (2011 & 2012) and Ouija Board (2004 & 2006), to become Cartier Horse Of The Year twice.
But the brilliant filly takes the award for Cartier Older Horse in 2018. The Khalid Abdullah-owned and bred 4-year-old was on the sidelines for much of the year, but she made a stunning winning reappearance in the G3 September Stakes on the All-Weather track at Kempton Park.
A month later, the daughter of Nathaniel became the eighth horse to win Europe's premier all-aged middle-distance contest, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, twice. She created more history as the first horse ever to follow up success in the Longchamp feature with victory in the G1 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, USA.
The other Cartier Older Horse nominees were Cracksman, Poet's Word and Lightning Spear.
Roaring Lion also gained the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award, seeing off Saxon Warrior, Masar and Sands Of Mali.
There is further success for Gosden with Stradivarius, who takes the Cartier Stayer Award. Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, the four-year-old Sea The Stars colt went through 2018 unbeaten, with his five victories including the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup. He was also successful in the G2 Yorkshire Cup, the G2 Lonsdale Cup and the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. Stradivarius' tremendous season saw him land the inaugural WH Stayers' Million, handing a £1-million bonus to connections. The other nominees in the Cartier Stayer division were Kew Gardens, Holdthasigreen and Vazirabad.
A record-equaling fifth equine win on the night for Gosden comes courtesy of Too Darn Hot, who bags the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Lord Lloyd-Webber's homebred son of Dubawi is unbeaten in four outings, ending the campaign with a decisive success in Britain's premier juvenile contest, the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October.
He was previously successful in the G3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park and the G2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, and is a hugely-exciting prospect for 2019. The other nominees in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt division were Advertise, Quorto and Ten Sovereigns.
The only other trainer to achieve five equine Cartier Racing Awards in a year has been Aidan O'Brien, who had Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Churchill, Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Minding, Cartier Stayer: Order Of St George, Cartier Older Horse: Found and Cartier Horse of the Year: Minding in 2016.
If one horse lit up the summer of 2018, it was Alpha Centauri who has won the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award. Trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland for the Niarchos Family, the daughter of Mastercraftsman won a total of four G1 races in 2018, beginning with the mile Classic, the Irish 1,000 Guineas in May. She was absolutely outstanding at Royal Ascot, taking the Coronation Stakes by six lengths in course-record time. Another easy success followed when she landed Newmarket's Falmouth Stakes by four and a half lengths.
She lined up against older horses and colts for the first time at Deauville in August and proved she could take on all comers as she won the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois by an easy two and a half-lengths. The other nominees for Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly were Laurens, Sea Of Class and Wild Illusion.
It was a close battle in the Cartier Sprinter division, with the honors going to Mabs Cross. Trained by Michael Dods for owner-breeders David and Emma Armstrong, the four-year-old Dutch Art filly was a model of consistency throughout the year and capped her campaign with a tremendous performance to land the strongest sprint run in 2018, the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, at Longchamp in October.
The Rogers family is one of Ireland's great owner-breeders and take the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award with Skitter Scatter. Trained by Patrick Prendergast for Anthony Rogers and his mother Sonia, the daughter of Scat Daddy improved throughout the season and was rewarded with three successes in Pattern company, culminating with a gutsy two-length victory in the G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in September. The other nominees for Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly were Pretty Pollyanna, Fairyland and Hermosa.
The Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to David Oldrey. One of the greatest talents to have worked in the administration of British horseracing, Oldrey's impressive CV involved The Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Board as well as numerous other bodies in the racing industry. A successful owner-breeder and racing historian, he is a true polymath.
Harry Herbert, Cartier's Racing consultant commented: “What another outstanding year it has been for European horseracing.
“Congratulations to John Gosden and his team for securing a joint-record five equine Cartier Racing Awards at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards. Roaring Lion truly lived up to his name, with four courageous G1 successes over the course of the season.
“Enable more than made up for missing the summer with her second Arc success followed by the Breeders' Cup Turf. What an outstanding filly she is. There was nothing to touch Stradivarius in the stayers' division, while Too Darn Hot looks hugely exciting for the 2019 campaign.
“Alpha Centauri towered over her rivals with several scintillating displays and congratulations to her owner-breeder the Niarchos Family and trainer Jessica Harrington, who has proved herself to be the outstanding dual-purpose handler of our age.
“Mabs Cross was superbly campaigned and earned her just reward at Longchamp. while Anthony and Sonia Rogers, such tremendous owner-breeders, have an outstanding filly in Skitter Scatter.
“Of course, horseracing does not function without great people behind the scenes. David Oldrey, who has dedicated himself to the administration of our great sport, is one such person. He is the deserved winner of the Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.
“Congratulations to all our winners this year and thanks go to Cartier UK, headed by Laurent Feniou, for supporting the Cartier Racing Awards for the 28th consecutive year.”
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