Golden Horn, the Investec Derby and Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner, cemented what was an almost perfect season when he was crowned Cartier Horse of the Year at the 25th Cartier Racing Awards in London on Tuesday night.
As loud as the applause was for owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer, as he collected awards for Horse of the Year and Three-Year-Old Colt, there was also an enormous cheer at the Dorchester for the man who presented the trophies, Arnaud Bamberger.
The honorary chairman of Cartier and the driving force behind the luxury brand’s involvement in racing, Bamberger was presiding over his 25th and last awards ceremony before handing the baton to Laurent Feniou, who will continue the awards next year.
Golden Horn was up there with some of the best Derby winners. His highest official rating actually came from his next race, the Eclipse, but his Arc victory was, perhaps, his greatest win as he showed Europe’s finest a clean pair of heels.
The French rarely leave these awards empty-handed and Solow, a five-year-old grey gelding who was unbeaten this year and dominated the mile division, was top Older Horse while Muhaarar won the Cartier Sprinter Award for Sheikh Hamdan and Charlie Hills.
The admirably consistent 1,000 Guineas winner Legatissimo won three Group Ones and finished second in three more, twice by a short-head. Owned by the Coolmore triumvirate of John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor she won the award for Three-year-old Filly.
If there was one surprise it was that Simple Verse, the reinstated St Leger winner, won the Cartier Stayer award for Qatar Racing by the narrowest of margins ahead of the Gold Cup winner and Melbourne Cup fourth Trip To Paris.
In the closing weeks of the season Aidan O’Brien dominated the major two-year-old races so it was no surprise to see him pick up both juvenile awards with Air Force Blue and Minding.
Jack Berry, the former trainer whose inspirational work in raising the funds to build a northern rehabilitation centre for the Injured Jockeys Fund resulted in Jack Berry House being opened in Malton this summer by the Princess Royal, won the Daily Telegraph Award of Merit. By inspiration, cajoling and arm-twisting Berry raised £3 millon and when it opened for business in April he said it was the “proudest moment of my life”.
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant, and master of ceremonies for the glittering evening, said: “The Cartier Racing Awards are 25 years old – a tremendous landmark – and we could hardly have wished for a better season in European racing. Golden Horn carried nearly all before him and is a worthy recipient of the Cartier Horse Of The Year.”
HORSE OF THE YEAR
OLDER HORSE OF THE YEAR
Air Force Blue
TELEGRAPH ORDER OF MERIT