Minding, O’Brien dominate horse of the year awards
Outstanding filly Minding and her Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien dominated the main European racing awards. Minding, which won the Cartier Award for Horse of the Year, won the English 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks classics under the guidance of the 46-year-old O’Brien who was given the merit award. She saw off strong competition from stablemate Found, who led home an unprecedented O’Brien 1-2-3 in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and French colt Almanzor, who pulled off the Irish and English Champion Stakes double. Minding could add more Group One success to her list as she looks set to stay in training as a four-year-old.
Found-who never finished outside the first three in 10 starts this term — won the award for older horses while Almanzor was the best three-year-old colt. Found is now in retirement whilst Almanzor will probably remain in training. O’Brien-who fell three short of the late Bobby Frankel’s world record haul of 25 Group One wins in a year-also saw his Arc third placed Order of St George pick up the stayer of the year title.
O’Brien’s fourth award winner was Churchill, who won the two-year-old colt award. Lady Aurelia became the first American horse to collect a Cartier gong, winning the two year old fillies category after two major successes in Europe.
O’Brien, who will face serious opposition from his son former Derby winning jockey Joseph next year, was widely praised by his peers. Jim Bolger who taught O’Brien the ropes when he was his assistant said it had been a blow when O’Brien went off to train. “I’d have done anything short of marrying him to keep him working for me,” said the 74-year-old 2008 Epsom Derby winning handler. —AFP