When the Oscars take place in the US, movie buffs are principally interested in the Best Picture award. In the Cartier horse racing honours, the sport’s fans are keen to know the Horse of the Year.

While the 2021 Oscars were held in Los Angeles (Nomadland was voted Best Picture), the venue for the 2021 Cartier Racing Awards on Wednesday will be the Dorchester Hotel in London.

There are four contenders for Horse of the Year: undefeated star miler Baaeed, continental globetrotter Mishriff, St Mark’s Basilica and shock Arc De Triomphe winner Torquator Tasso.

The latter started at 88-1 in Paris and it remains to be seen whether that one important win is enough to sway the panel. Possibly not, and perhaps a more likely victor is John Gosden’s top-class performer, Mishriff.

There are seven other equine categories: Older Horse, Sprinter, Stayer, Three-Year-Old Colt, Three-Year-Old Filly, Two-Year-Old Colt and Two-Year-Old Filly.

The nominations for Older Horse are: Lady Bowthorpe, Mishriff, Palace Pier and Torquator Tasso.

In the Three-Year-Old Colt category, there are four strong contenders in Derby winner Adayar, Baaeed, Hurricane Lane and St Mark’s Basilica. It may be a close call, but Adayar is probably the favourite.

One of the most popular horses to race in the UK in recent years has been another Gosden inmate, Stradivarius, who is usually partnered by Frankie Dettori.

Stradivarius is one of four nominations for Stayer, with the other three being Trueshan, Subjectivist and Hurricane Lane. Gosden’s stayer may miss out here to either Trueshan or Subjectivist. The latter, trained by Mark Johnston, beat Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup but was then injured in a home gallop and missed the rest of the season.

The quartet of horses for Sprinter are Starman, Winter Power, Emaraaty Ana and Creative Force. This will have been a tough call for the voting panel.

In the Three-Year-Old Filly category, the four nominations are Mother Earth, Alcohol Free, Snowfall and Saffron Beach. Aidan O’Brien’s filly Snowfall was a runaway winner of the Epsom Oaks under Dettori, but failed to build on that emphatic victory.

Meanwhile, record betting figures have been released after last weekend’s two-day Breeders Cup World Championships in Del Mar, a picturesque racecourse near San Diego. The turnover of $182,908,409 was a new record and represents a 4.7% increase on the 2019 Santa Anita figure of $174,628,986.

“The Breeders Cup is a truly global event with winners this weekend bred, raised and raced on three different continents,” Breeders Cup president Drew Fleming enthused.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 figure at Keeneland in Kentucky was only $160,472,893. The meeting returns to Keeneland in 2022.

Also due to Covid-19, Del Mar reduced the ticket capacity and the track attendance was recorded as 47,089.


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