Horse of the year Enable a ‘filly of rare distinction’
Herbert hails five-time Group One winner Gosden and O’brien dominate Cartier Awards
Enable’s sequence of five wins at the highest level lit up the 2017 Flat season and she was deservedly crowned Horse of the Year at the 27th Cartier Racing Awards Dinner in London last night.
The filly, owned and bred by Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, was known only to her connections 12 months ago, having not made her debut until Newcastle at the end of November.
But following a season in which John Gosden guided and Frankie Dettori steered her to wins against her own age group and sex in the Investec Oaks, Darley Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks – plus against colts and older horses in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix de L’arc de Triom- phe – everyone was talking about her last night when she was also named Cartier Three-year-old Filly.
Lord Grimthorpe, the owner’s racing manager, Gosden and Dettori, who described her as the best filly he had ever ridden, were all on hand at the Dorchester to receive European racing’s highest accolade from Laurent Feniou, managing director of Cartier.
She was not the only horse trained by Gosden and ridden by Dettori to be honoured. Cracksman won the Great Voltigeur and Prix Niel by wide margins before putting up an astonishing display to win the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot by seven lengths.
Two years after receiving the Three-year-old Colt award with Golden Horn, Cracksman’s ownerbreeder Anthony Oppenheimer was back receiving the same award for this colt.
Aidan O’brien matched Gosden with three ‘Cartiers’ for Ballydoyle horses. He cleaned up in the juvenile categories with US Navy Flag, a rare winner of both the Shadwell Middle Park and Darley Dewhurst, winning Two-year-old Colt. The Two-year-old Filly prize went to Happily, while for the second year in a row Order of St George was named Cartier Stayer.
Sir Michael Stoute, who was the recipient of the only human honour, the Daily Telegraph Award of Merit, also watched proudly as Maria Niarchos and her niece Electra were presented with the Older Horse award for Ulysses, who Stoute trained to win the Coraleclipse and Juddmonte International and set the standard.
There was a big cheer for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby when they went up with Hugh Anderson, managing director of Godolphin, to receive the award for Harry Angel, whose victories in the Darley July Cup and 32Red Sprint Cup made him a worthy winner of the season’s top sprinter.
“It has been another tremendous year in European horseracing,” said Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant and joint-host of the evening with Feniou. “Enable’s five victories at Group One level and her performances, at Ascot and Chantilly, mark her out as a filly of rare distinction.”
Simply the best: Khalid Abdullah’s Enable won two Cartier awards last night