British champion trainer John Gosden bags fourth Horse of the Year title
When British champion trainer John Gosden travelled to the famous Dorchester Hotel in London on Tuesday for the Cartier Racing Awards he would have been confident of winning the Horse of the Year trophy for a fourth time.
Gosden previously won the award with Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017). In 2018 Gosden had four of the five nominations for horse of the year: Cracksman, Enable, Roaring Lion and Stradivarius.
Most pundits made Enable the favourite to win the award for the second year running, joining two previous double winners, Frankel (2011 and 2012) and Ouija Board (2004 and 2006). The pundits got it wrong. Despite her second win in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, Enable lost out to stable mate Roaring Lion, who enjoyed an outstanding season.
Bought as a yearling for Qatar Racing Limited for $160,000, the son of Kitten’s Joy won four grade ones — the Coral Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
This correspondent was lucky enough to be at York for his Juddmonte victory in August.
Roaring Lion showed his versatility in his final appearance of the season at Ascot as he dropped down to a mile to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day.
The award for top Three — Year-Old Colt predictably also went to Roaring Lion, but Enable’s legion of fans will be pleased she was voted Champ — ion Older Horse.
Stradivarius won the Champion Stayer category and the filly Alpha Centauri — the only other nominee for horse of the year — was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
Trained by Jessica Harrington, Alpha Centauri won four grade 1 races before being retired due to injury.
In the recently released Longines World Rankings, Roaring Lion is rated three points below both Winx and Cracksman, who are both rated at 130. Gun Runner, winner of the Pegasus Cup and now retired, is rated 128.
Winx is now unbeaten in 29 races following her fourth Cox Plate triumph, while Cracksman, who failed to win a Cartier award, captured the Coronation Cup, Prix Ganay and Champion Stakes at Ascot.
While there was some highclass racing at Turffontein on Thursday, Saturday’s fare at the city track can only be described as moderate.
Trainer St John Gray could have a profitable meeting with Strawberry Pavlova (eighth) and Wings Of Light in the final leg of the Pick 6.
Strawberry Pavlova makes the most appeal. She was this column’s selection to win her most recent start and performed well running third at 11-1 odds. Gray has booked Gavin Lerena for the ride and he can expect challenges from Being Fabulous (Calvin Habib) and Invincible Lady (Raymond Danielson).
Being Fabulous is a daughter of High Chaparral and has won two of her last four starts.
1st Race: (2) Without Limits (8) Seventh Light (1) Rhyme Or Reason (3) Bel Canto Chorus
2nd: (1) Banana Republic (9) Starlighttemptress (7) Jacko Boy (2) Kutamba
3rd: (4) Myrrh (5) Myview (12)Toastmaster (6) Louis The Great
4th: (6) Viscountess Vivien (1) Dunas Douradas (10) Fly Thought (8) Disney Princess
5th: (10) Fariha (6) Pretty Ballerina (3) Noceur (2) Tammany Hall
6th: (7) Obvious Child (5) Wa rLegend (3) Hakeem (8) Excalibur’s Return
7th: (3) Captain And Master (5) Silver Thursday (1) Lake Kinneret (8) Whitehaven
8th: (3) Strawberry Pavlova (2) Being Fabulous (4) Invincible Lady (5) Lady Val
9th: (9) Wings Of Light (1) PaleLilac (3) Elegancia (2) Samarra