Enable named Cartier Horse of the Year at the 27th Cartier Racing Awards
The outstanding three-year-old filly Enable was named the Cartier Horse of the Year at the 27th annual Cartier Racing Awards at a ceremony before an invited audience in London on Tuesday night.
From the first crop of Nathaniel, Enable recorded five consecutive G1 victories in 2017. Owned by Khalid Abdullah, trained by John Gosden in Newmarket and ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable was very impressive against her own sex in two Classics, the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs and the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh, winning by five lengths each time, before easily defeating all-aged, all-sex opposition in Ascot's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
After capturing a third Oaks at York in August, the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, Enable created history by becoming the first British-trained filly to win Europe's most valuable race, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly. Her comfortable two and a half-length victory against a high-class field was an outstanding performance and the prospect of Enable staying in training in 2018 whets the appetite of all racing enthusiasts. The three other Cartier Horse of the Year nominees were Cracksman, Ribchester and Ulysses.
Enable also easily takes the honours in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award from Winter, Lady Aurelia and Roly Poly, while her stable companion Cracksman, owned by Anthony Oppenheimer, becomes the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt following his impressive seven-length success in the G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in October. Cracksman saw off challenges from Harry Angel, Churchill and Barney Roy.
Even by his own incredibly high standards, Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien enjoyed an outstanding 2017 as he sent out a worldwide record of 27 G1 winners. O'Brien is responsible for both the 2017 Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt, U S Navy Flag, and the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly, Happily, while Order Of St George scoops the Cartier Stayer Award for the second year in succession.
U S Navy Flag became the first horse since Diesis in 1982 to win both the G1 Shadwell Middle Park Stakes and the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes. He took the honour ahead of stable companions Saxon Warrior and Mendelssohn, plus Roaring Lion.
Happily was also a dual winner at G1 level and she captured the Cartier Award from the other three nominees Clemmie, Laurens and Heartache.
Order Of St George maintained a high level of form throughout the year, headed by a nine-length success in the G1 Comer Group Irish St Leger, but faced strong opposition from Big Orange for the Cartier Stayer Award, with Stradivarius and Vazirabad following on.
Thrilling Harry Angel is the winner of the 2017 Cartier Sprinter Award. The Godolphin-owned three-year-old colt, trained by Clive Cox, showed tremendous versatility with victories over six furlongs on good to firm ground in Newmarket's G1 Darley July Cup and on heavy ground in the G1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. He finished on top from Marsha, Battaash and Lady Aurelia.
Ulysses is the Cartier Older Horse for 2017, after registering a G1 10-furlong double in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park and the Juddmonte International at York, though it was a close-run affair with star miler Ribchester. Highland Reel and Talismanic were the other two nominees.
Ulysses' trainer Sir Michael Stoute is recognised at the 2017 Cartier Racing Awards as he receives the Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit. Since he commenced his training career in Newmarket in 1972, the Barbados-born Stoute has blossomed into a master of his profession with G1 victories across the globe.
Harry Herbert, Cartier's Racing Consultant, commented: "It has been another tremendous year in European horseracing and I would like to extend congratulations to all the winners at the 2017 Cartier Racing Awards.
"Enable enjoyed five commanding victories at G1 level and her performances, particularly at Ascot and Chantilly, mark her out as a filly of rare distinction. She is a very appropriate winner of Cartier Horse of the Year.
"Similarly her stable companion Cracksman was an outstanding winner at Ascot in the autumn, capping a superb season for her trainer John Gosden.
"The prospect of Enable, Cracksman and Harry Angel, the Cartier Sprinter for 2017, all retuning next year is a mouth-watering prospect.
"Of course, 2017 will be remembered as the year when Aidan O'Brien sent out a record 27 G1 winners and he and the Coolmore team are rewarded with Cartier Racing Awards for U S Navy Flag, Happily and Order Of St George.
"Sir Michael Stoute has been a master of his profession for over 40 years and he is a most worthy recipient of the Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit. His handling of Ulysses in 2017 was outstanding and sees that colt named as Cartier Older Horse."
Enable winning the English Oaks at Epsom Downs, picture Liesl King
Cartier Horse of the Year/Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly
3 b f Nathaniel (IRE) - Concentric (Sadler's Wells (USA))
2017 Form: 3111111
Owner: Khalid Abdullah
Trainer: John Gosden
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Enable receives the Cartier Horse of the Year and the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Awards following an outstanding season that saw her create history with five brilliant G1 victories including scintillating displays in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO) and the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The daughter of Nathaniel, homebred by owner Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms operation and trained by John Gosden, gained a comfortable victory in a mile Tapeta maiden at Newcastle on her only juvenile appearance in November, 2016.
She commenced her three-year-old campaign and switched to turf in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury on April 21, when staying on to finish third behind stable companion Shutter Speed.
Sent to Chester for the Listed Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks on May 10 when partnered by Frankie Dettori for the first time, Enable relished the step up to an extended 11 furlongs as she stormed clear of her rivals before being eased for an impressive victory.
After winning a trial with such authority, Enable duly headed to the G1 Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 2, when she took on eight fillies headed by red-hot favourite Rhododendron, runner-up in the G1 QIPCO 1,000 Guineas.
A dramatic renewal of the 12-furlong Classic saw the race run in driving rain as a thunderstorm broke overhead shortly beforehand, with Enable quickening clear of the field inside the final furlong to score by five lengths from Rhododendron.
Enable became the first filly in seven years to follow up victory in the Epsom Downs Classic with success in the G1 Darley Irish Oaks as she treated her growing fanbase to another imposing win at the Curragh, Ireland, on July 15.
With Frankie Dettori hurrying back from a shoulder injury to partner the star filly, Enable readily skipped clear of the field inside the final quarter-mile to record a five and a half-length victory over Rain Goddess.
Connections took the brave decision to let Enable take her chance against older horses and colts for the first time in the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO) at Ascot on July 29, just two weeks later, with Frankie Dettori getting down to his near-minimum weight of 8st 7lb to partner the filly again.
Lining up against colts and older opposition for the first time, Enable faced a formidable challenge that included defending champion Highland Reel, impressive G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic winner Jack Hobbs and recent G1 Coral-Eclipse scorer Ulysses.
In conditions reminiscent of her Investec Oaks success, Enable cruised up to take the lead at the top of the straight and readily powered away from her rivals in the rain, lengthening away from Ulysses inside the final furlong for a commanding victory.
Enable headed to York for her next start, with connections decided to let her take her chance against her own sex over her favoured mile and a half trip in the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks on August 24 rather than drop down in distance for the G1 Juddmonte International 24 hours earlier.
Gosden's previous winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Taghrooda, was beaten in the 2014 Yorkshire Oaks, but Enable ensured she would not suffer the same fate on the Knavesmire as she made all to beat stable companion Coronet for a routine five-length success.
The trainer immediately named Europe's premier middle-distance contest, the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, France on October 1, as Enable's next target.
After winning four G1 races by an aggregate of 20 lengths, Enable was sent off a red-hot favourite for the autumn showpiece. Her 17 rivals including fellow three-year-old filly Winter, herself a four-time G1 winner, Ulysses, crack stayer Order Of St George and impressive G2 Qatar Prix Foy victor Dschingis Secret.
Dettori took the early decision to ease Enable across from stall two and settle her close to the pace in third, with the filly travelling powerfully into the race to take up the running almost a full two furlongs from home.
Asked to quicken, Enable soon opened up a clear advantage and ran on strongly to beat Cloth Of Stars by two and a half lengths, with Ulysses staying on in third ahead of Order Of St George.
The victory proved momentous for Dettori, who became the most successful jockey in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe history with five wins, just two years after he and Gosden had teamed up with Golden Horn to win the same race.
Enable became the first three-year-old filly trained in Britain to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the seventh horse to capture the race after winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes earlier the same season, emulating such greats as Ribot, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave.
She is set to stay in training for 2018, when "the defence of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be high in consideration".
4 ch c Galileo (IRE) - Light Shift (USA) (Kingmambo (USA))
2017 Form: 131213
Owners: Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd and Cheveley Park Stud
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute Breeder: Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Ulysses came of age in 2017 and gains the award for Cartier Older Horse following an excellent campaign that yielded two triumphs at the highest level for the Niarchos Family's Flaxman Stables and latterly Cheveley Park Stud.
Given his pedigree - being a son of Galileo out of an Oaks winner in Light Shift - big things were always expected of Ulysses, but he never quite lived up to it during his three-year-old season, with his most notable success coming in the G3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Sir Michael Stoute-trained runners are renowned for improving with age and Ulysses looked a different animal on his 2017 comeback in the G3 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown Park on April 28, when dispatching of G1 scorers Deauville and My Dream Boat in great style over 10 furlongs.
A return to the top table beckoned on his next start in the G1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, where Ulysses teamed up with champion jockey Jim Crowley for the first time. The pair came with what looked a race-winning move as they challenged for the lead two furlongs out and then go to the front, only for Ulysses to concede the advantage to Highland Reel and Decorated Knight near the line.
Crowley did not make the same mistake three weeks later when the pair continued their association in the G1 Coral-Eclipse, also at 10 furlongs, at Sandown Park, though he still thought he should have been more patient. Ulysses quickened well out to take the lead with a furlong remaining, having travelled eye-catchingly under a patient ride, and battled on well to deny the rallying Barney Roy by a nose in a fantastic finish.
For his next assignment, connections decided to step up to 12 furlongs for the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) at Ascot on July 29, in which he encountered Europe's leading three-year-old Enable. The race took place in driving rain and that, coupled with already rain-softened ground, blunted Ulysses' speed as he finished finish second, four and a half lengths behind Enable.
Ulysses posted his second G1 victory of the year in the Juddmonte International over an extended 10 furlongs at York on August 23. Barney Roy was in opposition again, as was dual 2,000 Guineas victor Churchill, but neither had any answer to Ulysses' finishing burst. The two-length victory was awarded an official rating of 127, the third highest in Europe this year.
Ulysses rounded off his career with another commendable effort over 12 furlongs, taking third behind Enable in the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on October 1. He shipped to California to contest the Breeders' Cup Turf, in which he finished fourth last year, but was ruled out on veterinary advice due to a slight problem.
Ulysses will stand at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket from next year for a fee of £30,000, after the stud purchased a majority share in September.
HARRY ANGEL (IRE)
3 b c Dark Angel (IRE) - Beatrix Potter (IRE) (Cadeaux Genereux (GB))
2017 Form: 212114
Trainer: Clive Cox
Breeder: CBS Bloodstock
Jockey: Adam Kirby
Harry Angel takes the Cartier Sprinter Award for Clive Cox, Godolphin and Adam Kirby after establishing himself as the standout six-furlong speedster in Europe with victories in the G1 Darley July Cup and G1 32Red Sprint Cup.
Purchased for 44,000 guineas as a yearling at the Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, the son of Dark Angel hails from the family of Xtension, whom Cox trained to win the G2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2009.
A G2 scorer on his second and final start as a two-year-old in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, Harry Angel started the 2017 campaign with an encouraging second behind Blue Point in the G3 Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes at Ascot in April, having pulled hard.
He laid down a marker for G1 honours on his next outing with a dominant four and a half-length victory in the G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock Park on fast ground, smashing the six-furlong course record in the process.
That performance put Harry Angel firmly on course for a mouth-watering clash with the then unbeaten Caravaggio, representing Aidan O'Brien, and his Pavilion Stakes conqueror Blue Point in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Running in the colours of Godolphin for the first time, Harry Angel showed brazen speed from the gates. He held the advantage entering the final furlong, but his early exertions told close home as the fast-finishing Caravaggio pounced to win by just under a length.
Connections of both the winner and runner-up turned their attentions to older opposition for a vintage renewal of the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket on July 15. As well as Caravaggio and Harry Angel, the line-up featured previous winner Limato, plus The Tin Man and Tasleet, who were first and second in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Unlike at Royal Ascot, Harry Angel allowed regular Adam Kirby to exercise more restraint. The pair sat upside Caravaggio's pacemaker before quickening into an unassailable lead over a furlong out and staying on strongly to win by a length and a quarter from Limato on good to firm going.
Following a two-month break, Harry Angel returned to Haydock Park for the G1 32Red Sprint Cup on September 9, although on very different ground compared to his track record success in May. The ground, officially described as heavy, was a question mark for Cox and there was plenty of debate about whether to run, but those concerns proved unfounded as Harry Angel streaked clear for an easy four-length victory.
Harry Angel did not replicate his Haydock Park form in his final start when fading to fourth in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 21, but is set to stay in training next year, with all the top sprints on his agenda.
ORDER OF ST GEORGE (IRE)
5 b c Galileo (IRE) - Another Storm (USA) (Gone West (USA))
2017 Form: 2121141
Owners: Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Lloyd Williams
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Breeder: Paget Bloodstock
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Order Of St George becomes the first horse since Yeats to win back-to-back Cartier Stayer Awards after another excellent campaign.
The five-year-old Galileo horse, trained by Aidan O'Brien for a Coolmore partnership that also includes prominent Australian owner Lloyd Williams, has developed into being Europe's leading stayer. His major victories before this year were the 2015 G1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger and the 2016 G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
This season, Order Of St George was beaten by Torcedor on his comeback in the G3 Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in April, but made no mistake on his next outing in the Listed Saval Beg Stakes over a mile and a three quarters at Leopardstown on May 26, scoring comfortably by two and a quarter lengths.
All eyes were on him at Royal Ascot as he tried for back-to-back victories in the traditional highlight of the meeting, the G1 Gold Cup over two and a half miles. Like in 2016, Ryan Moore delivered Order Of St George with one, sustained run down the outside in home straight, but it was not enough to reel in popular front-runner Big Orange, who prevailed by a short-head in a dramatic finish.
Order Of St George was rested after Royal Ascot and returned with an easy four and a half-length victory over subsequent Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling, who was in receipt of 5lb, in the G3 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial over a mile and three quarters at the Curragh on August 19.
The G1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger over the same course and distance three weeks later looked a formality, and Order Of St George duly atoned for an odds-on defeat in the race the previous year with a relentless display, galloping nine lengths clear of runner-up Torcedor.
Order Of St George dropped back to a mile and a half on his next outing for Europe's most prestigious race, the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on October 1, and ran with credit to finish fourth, which followed his 2017 third.
He rounded off this season with a fast-finishing victory in the G2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on October 21, although he was made to work harder than expected by old rival Torcedor, eventually getting on top close home to score by a half-length.
Aidan O'Brien has confirmed that the marvellously consistent and talented Order Of St George stays in training next year.
3 b c Frankel (GB) - Rhadegunda (GB) (Pivotal (GB))
2017 Form: 132111
Owner: Anthony Oppenheimer
Trainer: John Gosden Breeder: Hascombe And Valiant Studs
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Cracksman gains the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award after crowning his year with a thrilling seven-length victory in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Trained by John Gosden, the Frankel colt carries the familiar colours of his breeder Anthony Oppenheimer and was usually ridden by Frankie Dettori. Gosden, Oppenheimer and Dettori combined with Golden Horn to win Cartier Horse of the Year Award and Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award in 2015.
At the start of the campaign, Cracksman was touted by many as a horse to follow judged on his debut success in a mile maiden at Newmarket during the backend of his two-year-old season.
He reappeared over 10 furlong in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom Downs in April, with the premier Classic in June very much on his agenda, but was made to work for his short-head success by hardened rival Permian.
Cracksman missed an intended engagement in York's G2 Dante Stakes in May, with connections fearful a hard race on testing ground two and a half weeks before the Investec Derby, and instead galloped on the track at Epsom at the annual Breakfast With The Stars.
Despite his relative lack of experience, Cracksman was sent off the 7/2 favourite in a wide open Investec Derby. He held every chance in the home straight, and struck the front with a furlong to race, but could not resist the late challenge from Cliffs Of Moher and finally the winner Wings Of Eagles.
Following a neck defeat at the hands of Capri in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, Cracksman returned from a seven-week break with a dominant display in the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August, defeating Venice Beach by six lengths.
In the aftermath, Gosden indicated that Cracksman could be put away until next season, but the decision was taken instead to head for the G2 Prix Niel at Chantilly, France, in September with a view to contesting either the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe back at Chantilly or the QIPCO Champion Stakes two weeks later.
Following a routine success in the Prix Niel, connections decided to avoid stablemate Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and head to the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
A classy field for the 10-furlong showpiece included two Royal Ascot scorers in Highland Reel and Barney Roy, dual French Classic victor Brametot and Irish Champion Stakes runner-up Poet's Word.
Cracksman had questions to answer at Ascot, namely the trip having looked laboured at times over 12 furlongs, and his ability to act on very testing ground. Both were answered emphatically.
Cracksman cruised through to lead turning into the home straight and powered further and further clear to score by seven lengths from Poet's Word and Highland Reel.
He is set to return as a four-year-old with Gosden eyeing a mouth-watering clash with Enable in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt
U S NAVY FLAG (USA)
2 b c War Front (USA) - Misty For Me (IRE) (Galileo (IRE))
2017 Form: 43301241110
Owner: Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor
Trainer: Aidan O 'Brien IRE
Breeder: Misty For Me Syndicate
Jockey: Ryan Moore
U S Navy Flag receives the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award following a remarkable campaign that saw the son of War Front race 11 times and complete a rare G1 double in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and the Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
Owned by a Coolmore partnership headed by Derrick Smith and trained by Aidan O'Brien, U S Navy Flag made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his career. Having finished fourth on debut over five furlongs at Naas on May 1, he came home third in two six-furlong contests at the Curragh, including when going down by nearly five lengths in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes on May 27.
The War Front colt failed to make an impact in the six-furlong G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, but the application of blinkers produced a marked improvement on his next outing at the Curragh on July 1 as he made all to easily win a maiden over the same trip on his fifth start.
Sent back over the Irish Sea for the G2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket's July Festival, U S Navy Flag once again tried to make all the running in the six-furlong contest and ran well to finish second, with Cardsharp getting up inside the final furlong for a comfortable success.
U S Navy Flag also acquitted himself well on his G1 debut in the six-furlong Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 13, when he was swamped in the closing stages to come home fourth. He capitalised on the drop down to G3 level over the same course and distance two weeks later with a comprehensive six-length victory in the Plusvital Round Tower Stakes.
Returning to G1 company for the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket on September 30, U S Navy Flag stayed on strongly to beat stable companion Fleet Review by half a length, with a further two and a half lengths back to his July Stakes conqueror Cardsharp.
U S Navy Flag returned to Newmarket for the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes, his first attempt at seven furlongs. Showing his customary early speed, he tacked over from his low draw to lead the field on stands' rail and made all of the running, quickening strongly for a comprehensive victory over subsequent Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn.
U S Navy Flag became the first horse since Diesis in 1982 to capture both the Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes, with his victory in the latter part of an extraordinary 1-2-3-4 for trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Connections audaciously opted to switch U S Navy Flag to dirt for the extended mile G1 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he faded in the closing stages after making the running to finish a well-beaten 10th.
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly
2 b f Galileo (IRE) - You'resothrilling (USA) (Storm Cat (USA))
2017 Form: 7112110
Owner: Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien IRE
Breeder: Orpendale and Chelston Ireland
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Happily, the first filly in 31 years to win the G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, collects the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award.
The daughter of all-conquering sire Galileo continues a fine family record, with full-brother Gleneagles having been crowned Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt at the 2014 Cartier Racing Awards.
Happily, trained by Aidan O'Brien for a Coolmore partnership, kept on to finish seventh on her debut in a seven-furlong maiden at Leopardstown on June 8 before comfortably beating Shalailah over the same distance at the Curragh on June 30.
The two re-opposed in the seven-furlong G3 Jockey Club Of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown on July 27, when Happily once again asserted in the closing stages to score by five lengths under Ryan Moore.
Pitched into G2 company for the Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh on August 20, Happily ran well to take second behind Magical, with a length and a quarter separating the stable companions.
Happily gained her revenge over the same course and distance in the G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on September 10, when she stayed on strongly to collar Magical in the dying strides and prevail by a short-head.
Both fillies headed to Chantilly for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting on October 1 and, with Magical running in the G1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac, connections took the bold decision to put Happily against the colts in the mile G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
Settled towards the rear of the six runners, Happily stayed on gamely to beat the highly-regarded Olmedo by a length and a quarter, becoming the first filly to win the race since Danishkada in 1986 and avenging the defeat of Gleneagles, who was demoted to third after passing the post first in 2014.
Happily headed to Del Mar, USA, for her final juvenile appearance in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf over a mile on November 3, but she endured a troubled passage on the tight course and was eased to come home last of the 14 runners.
Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit -
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE
Sir Michael Stoute, an outstanding trainer for the past five decades, gains the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit for 2017.
He was born on October 22, 1945, in Barbados, where his father Ronald was chief police commissioner. Michael was one of four sons for Ronald and his wife Dorothy.
The police commissioner's house in Barbados was situated next to the famous Garrison Savannah racecourse and a ladder over the fence was the young Stoute's introduction to horseracing.
Educated at Harrison College on the island, he gained early hands-on experience when helping out local trainer Frankie Thirkell and also wrote pieces for local newspapers The Advocater and Daily News. His media experience was further enhanced when he acted as commentator in Barbados and also in Trinidad, where he worked alongside subsequent News At Ten stalwart Sir Trevor McDonald.
At the age of 19, Stoute made the move across the Atlantic to Britain. His trip was initially prompted by a desire to further his career in the media and he made it to the final six candidates for a racing position with the BBC. He eventually lost out to Julian Wilson.
Deciding to stay in the UK, he made the journey north to Yorkshire and worked for trainer Pat Rohan for the next three years before switching to the home of Flat racing, Newmarket, where he was employed by Tom Jones and Doug Smith.
In 1972, he decided to go solo and began training in Newmarket with 15 horses in his care. Sandal, owned by his father, got the ball rolling for the rookie trainer at Newmarket on April 28, 1972, while the following year he put down an early marker of his training prowess when saddling the winner of two of the season's most competitive handicaps through Alphadamus (Stewards' Cup) and Blue Cashmere (Ayr Gold Cup).
Having quickly proved his ability, it was not long before Stoute was eating at the very top table. In 1978, he sent out his first Classic winner when Fair Salinia took the Oaks at Epsom Downs under Greville Starkey. The Sven Hanson-owned filly went on to win both the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks.
The same year also saw the birth of a colt who would become a superstar for Stoute. By Great Nephew out of Sharmeen, a strapping bay colt with a big white face was among a draft of yearlings sent to Stoute by the Aga Khan.
Named Shergar, he showed considerable promise as a juvenile in 1980, notably finishing second in the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster. However, it was as a three-year-old that he came into his own. After tremendous victories in the Classic Trial at Sandown Park and Chester Vase, he ran away with the Derby by a record 10 lengths under his 19-year-old jockey, Walter Swinburn.
Effortless victories in the Irish Derby and Ascot's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes followed later in the summer. Even a below par effort in the St Leger could not take away from his earlier prowess and Shergar's exploits enabled Stoute to claim a first British trainers' championship.
The 1980s were a golden era for the Stoute stable. Shahrastani, also owned by the Aga Khan and ridden by Swinburn, handed the trainer a second Derby victory with his dramatic defeat of Dancing Brave in 1986, while there also British Classic victories in the 1,000 Guineas (Musical Bliss 1989), 2,000 Guineas (Shadeed 1985, Doyoun 1988) and Oaks (Unite 1987).
The Irish Classics were also a significant source of success for the stable in the same decade, with Shareef Dancer (1983) and Shahrastani (1986) capturing the Irish Derby, Sonic Lady (1986) taking the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Shaadi (1989) the Irish 2,000 Guineas plus Colorspin (1986), Unite (1987) and Melodist (1988) recording three consecutive successes in the Irish Oaks.
With support from owners including the Maktoum family, the Aga Khan and the Sobell/Weinstock family, Freemason Lodge was matched only by Henry Cecil for dominance in Newmarket.
Away from the Classics, other 1980s highlights included Ajdal, who was expertly handled to become champion sprinter in 1987, having begun the year as a Classic contender, while Kribensis proved the trainer could mix it with the best of the best in Jump racing, as the four-year-old won the 1988 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before going on to win the Champion Hurdle two years later.
Classic success continued during the 1990s, with Entrepreneur winning the 1997 2,000 Guineas and the decade also saw the emergence of a particular Stoute speciality - excellence with older horses. The Eclipse was annexed three times with older horses courtesy of Opera House (1993), Ezzoud (1994) and Pilsudski (1997). Ezzoud (1993 & 1994) and Singspiel (1997) also triumphed in the International at York.
With Flat racing becoming ever more international, it was no surprise that Stoute's reach extended around the world in the 1990s. Singspiel (1996) and Pilsudski (1997) both won the Japan Cup and the remarkable duo were also first and second in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Turf at Woodbine (Pilsudski coming out on top), a feat the trainer regards with particular affection.
A tremendous innovation of the 1990s was Sheikh Mohammed's realisation of staging the world's richest race in Dubai during the spring. The Dubai World Cup was first run in 1996 and it was no surprise to see Stoute saddle the first British-trained winner of the contest in 1997 - the outstandingly tough Singspiel, who wore Sheikh Mohammed's famous red and white silks.
In 1998, Stoute was awarded a knighthood. His success over the world had considerably boosted the standing of his home country and his knighthood was in recognition of services to tourism in Barbados.
As a new century dawned, Stoute continued his trade as a master of his profession. There was more Derby success with Kris Kin (2003), North Light (2004) and Workforce (2010), who won in course record time and went on to fill a rare omission in Stoute's CV when winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The 2,000 Guineas was gained in consecutive years thanks to Kings Best (2000) and Golan (2001), while Russian Rhythm (2003) landed the 1,000 Guineas. The one Classic that had eluded the trainer, the St Leger, was finally won in 2008 thanks to Conduit.
His expert handling of older horses continued. A remarkable feat was achieved in 2002 when Golan won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on his seasonal debut, while the trainer also won the same race again in 2009 with Conduit and in 2010, when Harbinger scored by a breath-taking 11 lengths.
The 2017 season saw him saddle four-year-old Ulysses, who takes the honours in the Cartier Older Horse division thanks to a brace of G1 victories in the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International.
Always at home at the major racing festivals, Stoute's record of 75 winners at Royal Ascot is matched only by his late rival and friend, Sir Henry Cecil. A recent highlight among those victories was Her Majesty The Queen's Estimate, who in 2013 became the first winner of the Gold Cup to be owned by the reigning monarch.
With 10 champion trainer titles in Britain, 26 Classic victories in Britain and Ireland plus significant G1 success across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, the cricket-loving Sir Michael Stoute is a true craftsman of his calling.
Winners at the Cartier Racing Awards
2017 - CARTIER RACING AWARDS
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: U S Navy Flag
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Happily
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Cracksman
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Enable
Cartier Sprinter: Harry Angel
Cartier Stayer: Order Of St George
Cartier Older Horse: Ulysses
Cartier Horse of the Year: Enable owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Sir Michael Stoute