Enable is tonight revealed as the 2019 Cartier Horse Of The Year at the 29th annual Cartier Racing awards, European horseracing’s equivalent of the Oscars (PLEASE RESPECT THE STRICT EMBARGO ABOVE – 11pm UK time, Tuesday, November 12, etc).
Bred by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, the five-year-old mare added a further three Group 1 (G1) successes to her remarkable CV in 2019, with victories in the Coral-Eclipse, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes and Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
This is the second time Enable has been crowned Cartier Horse Of The Year, with the great mare having previously taken the top honour in 2017. She becomes just the third horse to be a two-time Cartier Horse Of The Year after Frankel (2011 & 2012) and Ouija Board (2004 & 2006).
The Nathaniel mare, the only European-based filly or mare to gather career earnings of over £10 million in prize money, remains in training for 2020.
She is also the Cartier Older Horse for 2019 and equals the record of the legendary Frankel, another Juddmonte homebred, in gaining five Cartier Racing Awards, having also been named Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly in 2017 and Cartier Older Horse in 2018.
Horses trained by John Gosden in Newmarket have now taken the Cartier Horse Of Year Award in five of the last six years, courtesy of Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015), Roaring Lion (2018) and Enable (2017 & 2019).
The other nominees for Cartier Horse Of The Year in 2019 were Blue Point, Magical, Star Catcher, Stradivarius and Waldgeist, while the nominees for Cartier Older Horse this year included Blue Point, Crystal Ocean, Magical, Stradivarius and Waldgeist.
The 2019 season was undoubtedly the year of Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori. In addition to Enable’s two Cartier Racing Awards, the pair also gained honours with horses in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt, Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly and Cartier Stayer categories.
Stradivarius wins the Cartier Stayer Award for the second successive year. Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, the five-year-old Sea The Stars horse was nearly all-conquering with repeat wins in the G2 Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup handing him the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers Million for the second time. He also went on to take the G2 Magners Rose Doncaster Cup, making him the eighth winner of the Stayers’ Triple Crown. It is intended that he too will remain in training for 2020. The other nominees for Cartier Stayer were Dee Ex Bee, Kew Gardens and Logician.
Another repeat winner is Too Darn Hot, who is the 2019 Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt. Owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber and bred by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud, the son of Dubawi was crowned Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt in 2018. After an interrupted start to this season, he once again demonstrated tremendous ability with G1 victories in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat and Qatar Sussex Stakes. The other nominees for Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt were Circus Maximus, Japan and Logician.
The fifth award on the night for the Gosden-Dettori combination is Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, which goes to Star Catcher. Another homebred, Anthony Oppenheimer’s daughter of Sea The Stars got better and better as the season progressed, with victories in the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, G1 Kerrygold Irish Oaks, G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille and G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. The other nominees in the division were Anapurna, Hermosa and Iridessa.
It was also a very satisfying year for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, which takes two Cartier Racing Awards.
Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby, went through 2019 unbeaten in five starts and wins the 2019 Cartier Sprinter Award. The five-year-old Shamardal horse began the campaign at Meydan, UAE, where his three successes were topped with G1 success in the Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments on Dubai World Cup night in March. He was then given a near three-month break and headed to Royal Ascot. On day one, he was the comfortable length and a quarter winner of the G1 King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs. He turned out to contest the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes on day five over a furlong further, when he had to work harder but came out on top again. He became the first horse the complete the King’s Stand/Diamond Jubilee double in the same year since Choisir in 2003 and the first ever to win both races when they have both been run at G1 level. The other Cartier Sprinter nominees were Advertise, Battaash and So Perfect.
Godolphin also gains the honours in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt division with Pinatubo. Another son of Shamardal trained by Charlie Appleby, Pinatubo was unbeaten in six starts between May and October. After an impressive five-length success in the G2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at the end of July on his fourth start, he was truly breath-taking when running away with the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien Stakes by nine lengths at the Curragh in September. This made him the highest-rated juvenile on official British Horseracing Authority ratings since Celtic Swing a quarter of a century earlier. He ended 2019 with a second G1 success in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. The other nominees for Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt were Earthlight, Kameko and Siskin.
Owner-breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah gains a third Cartier Racing Award this year courtesy of the unbeaten Quadrilateral, who is named Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly. The Roger Charlton-trained daughter of Frankel was unbeaten in three starts under talented young jockey Jason Watson and her season culminated with victory in the G1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October. The other nominees for Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly were Albigna, Daahyeh and Raffle Prize.
The Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit for 2019 goes to Pat Smullen. One of the outstanding jockeys of his generation and a nine-time champion in his native Ireland, Pat received devastating news in 2018 when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A man of outstanding resilience, he has thrown all his efforts into helping others who face the same condition. His outstanding fund-raising efforts have resulted in over €2.5 million being raised for Cancer Trials Ireland and culminated at the Curragh in September with the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland which saw stars from the past including Sir A P McCoy and Ruby Walsh return to the saddle.
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s Racing Consultant, commented: “Enable becomes just the third horse to be named Cartier Horse Of The Year twice, following in the illustrious hoofprints of Frankel and Ouija Board. Bountiful talent combined with a courageous running style make her a joy to watch and it is no wonder that Enable is so popular with everyone in racing. It is exciting that Prince Khalid Abdullah is keeping her in training for 2020, when she could become the first three-time winner of the Cartier Horse Of The Year.
“Trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori are one of the most enduring partnerships in horseracing and virtually everything they touched in 2019 turned to gold. Stradivarius is firmly among the immortals in the stayers’ division, while it was heart-warming to see Too Darn Hot return to his best in high summer. Star Catcher just seemed to get better and better as 2019 went on and emerged as the best of her generation.
“It was also a great year for Godolphin. It takes a rare combination of talent and tenacity to win two races at Royal Ascot but Blue Point did exactly that as he topped and tailed the week by bagging both G1 sprints.
“Pinatubo was impressive throughout the year and his victory at the Curragh was a real wow moment. Officially the best juvenile in 25 years, his return in 2020 is going to be hugely anticipated.
“As well as his established superstar Enable, Prince Khalid Abdullah also has unbeaten two-year-old filly Quadrilateral to look forward to in 2020.
“Seven of the eight equine winners at the 29th Cartier Racing Award are the product of owner-breeders who form the backbone of our great sport and I extend my congratulations to Prince Khalid Abdullah, Sheikh Mohammed, Bjorn Nielsen, Anthony Oppenheimer and Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber.
“Pat Smullen, the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit winner this year, is an inspirational figure. As well as his brilliance in the saddle, his dedication to help others who face the same health issues tells us what an outstanding human being he is.
“We are all set of for a night of celebration and high emotion at the 29th Cartier Racing Awards.”
Cartier Horse of the Year & Cartier Older Horse
5 b m Nathaniel (IRE) – Concentric (Sadler’s Wells (USA))
2019 Form: 1112
Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah
Trainer: John Gosden
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Enable becomes only the third horse to be crowned Cartier Horse of the Year twice following an exceptional season that saw the five-year-old mare gain three victories, all at G1 level, and narrowly miss out on an unprecedented third success in the G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s richest race. She also receives the Cartier Older Horse award for a second consecutive year.
Homebred by owner Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms and trained by John Gosden in Newmarket, Enable had already established herself as one of the great middle-distance horses prior to this season. She proved to be an outstanding filly as a three-year-old and collected both Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly awards in 2017 after winning five G1 races headed by a stunning victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Her 2018 return to action was delayed by a knee injury but the daughter of Nathaniel continued the theme of her Classic campaign as she recorded three impressive wins, including a second Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She followed up with success in the G1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, at Churchill Downs, USA, becoming the first horse to complete the trans-Atlantic double. She was the Cartier Older Horse in 2018 and narrowly missing out to stable companion Roaring Lion as Cartier Horse Of The Year
Following a punctuated campaign, hopes were high that Enable could further enhance her lofty reputation in 2019 by contesting some of Europe’s top midsummer highlights. While a third crack at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remained at the top of her priorities, targets being considered included the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Connections opted to wait until the G1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 6 for her eagerly-awaited return. Despite dropping down to a mile and a quarter – the trip she encountered on her only previous defeat at Newbury as a three-year-old – the omens looked good for Enable. She had readily brushed aside Crystal Ocean on her belated four-year-old return in the 2018 G3 September Stakes, while her sire Nathaniel, also trained by John Gosden, had captured the Coral-Eclipse on his seasonal return seven years earlier.
She faced a high-quality field that included another brilliant filly in Magical, who had finished three-quarters of a length behind Enable in the G1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Settled close to the pace in second by Frankie Dettori, Enable loomed up to hit the front approaching the final quarter-mile and stayed on powerfully for a comfortable success, beating Magical by exactly the same margin as at Churchill Downs the previous November. Her victory was the first by a filly or mare in the Sandown Park G1 contest since Kooyonga in 1992.
Enable headed to Ascot on July 27 for her next start in the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, a race she had won as a three-year-old in 2017. A strong line-up for the 12-furlong midsummer highlight included Crystal Ocean, who had defeated Magical in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, French challenger Waldgeist and leading three-year-old Anthony Van Dyck, winner of the G1 Investec Derby.
Trapped out wide early, Frankie Dettori elected to take Enable further back than in the Coral-Eclipse and the duo started to make smooth headway turning for home. She loomed up to join Crystal Ocean passing the two-furlong pole, with the two horses readily opening up daylight over the rest of the field. Crystal Ocean battled back tenaciously in a pulsating battle up the Ascot straight, with Enable gamely asserting near the line for a thrilling neck verdict.
“In all my career that’s probably the hardest-fought G1 I’ve ever had,” remarked Dettori afterwards. “Two great champions, the last two furlongs. It doesn’t come along every day.”
Enable became the third dual winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, following on from Dahlia (1973 & 1974) and Swain (1997 & 1998), and the first to regain the Ascot race.
With Longchamp the ultimate aim, connections decided to keep Enable at a mile and a half for the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York on August 22, rather than drop down to an extended 10 furlongs for the G1 Juddmonte International at the same meeting.
Although facing just three others, she still had a tricky task with old rival Magical among the opposition. Expected pacemaker South Sea Pearl was surprisingly held up at the rear of the field, so Enable strode on and made all to score by two and three-quarter lengths over Magical. The manner of her victory prompted BHA handicapper Mark Olley to promote Enable to an official rating of 128, making her the highest-rated horse in the world.
All eyes now turned to Longchamp on October 6 as Enable aimed for an unprecedented third win in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which was run on very soft going.
A typically strong renewal for Europe’s premier middle-distance contest also featured leading three-year-olds Sottsass, winner of the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club, and Juddmonte International victor Japan. The older contingent included Magical, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes third Waldgeist and Ghaiyyath, who headed to Longchamp on the back of a 14-length success in the G1 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden.
Enable travelled supremely well behind the leaders for much of the race and loomed up to head Magical a furlong and a half from home. She soon went clear and looked set for a fairy-tale victory, only for Waldgeist to stay on strongly on the testing ground and collar the great mare near the line. It was her first defeat in 13 starts, a sequence that had included a remarkable 10 victories at G1 level, and second overall in 15 outings.
Discussions soon turned to Enable’s future and whether she would be seen on the racecourse again or retire to her owner’s powerful Juddmonte Farms breeding operation. Nine days after her Longchamp reversal, connections announced that Enable would remain in training as a six-year-old, to the delight of the racing public.
If the past three seasons prove anything to go by, her glittering CV looks certain to be further enhanced during the 2020 season, with more Cartier Racing Awards honours in prospect.
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt
TOO DARN HOT
3 b c Dubawi (IRE) – Dar Re Mi (Singspiel (IRE))
2019 Form: 22311
Owner: Lord Lloyd-Webber
Trainer: John Gosden
Breeder: Watership Down Stud
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Too Darn Hot joins a select group of horses to have won both the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt and Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt awards, following a season that initially threatened to prove frustrating but then delivered two G1 prizes before injury prematurely finished his racing career. Only George Washington (2006), New Approach (2008) and Frankel (2011) have previously gained both Cartier Awards.
The son of Dubawi, bred at Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud and the son of their exceptional mare Dar Re Mi, was the standout juvenile of 2018, winning all four of his starts for trainer John Gosden including an impressive display in the G1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
After such a brilliant season, Too Darn Hot spent the winter at the head of the betting for two British Classics, the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby. However, he was forced to miss his intended seasonal return in the G3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April – a contest ironically sponsored by Watership Down Stud – due to heat in a splint bone.
Having run out of time to get Too Darn Hot ready for the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, Gosden rerouted him to the G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes over an extended mile and a quarter at York on May 16, one of the leading trials for the 12-furlong Investec Derby. It was also a race in which Gosden had saddled three of the past four winners, including future Cartier Horse of the Year recipients Golden Horn (2015) and Roaring Lion (2018).
Everything appeared to go to plan for most of the race, as Too Darn Hot stayed on well from the rear to press for the lead approaching the final furlong. But he could not get to grips with Telecaster in the closing stages and went down by a length.
After failing to see out the trip at York, Too Darn Hot dropped back to a mile for the G1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh, Ireland, just nine days later. Taking on a field that included the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia, Too Darn Hot delivered a strong challenge down the centre of the course, but front-running Phoenix Of Spain was too strong inside the final furlong, winning by three lengths.
Too Darn Hot headed to Royal Ascot for the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes, again over a mile on June 18. On rain-softened ground, Too Darn Hot travelled strongly into the race and battled for the lead approaching the final furlong but failed to get on terms with Circus Maximus. He kept on at the same pace and was passed on the line by stable-companion King Of Comedy, finishing third, beaten a length in total.
Following three solid, if not spectacular, efforts, Too Darn Hot was dropped down in trip for the G1 Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on July 6, with the race distance switching from a mile to seven furlongs for the first time in 2018.
Having tracked the leaders, Too Darn Hot moved up to hit the front a furlong and a half out and powered clear for a decisive three-length success over Space Blues, a coveted first G1 win as a three-year-old.
With four victories from as many starts over seven furlongs and a solitary maiden win over a mile, there was some discussion over Too Darn Hot’s optimum distance. Immediately after his Deauville victory, Gosden declared: “We’ve finally got him over the correct trip – seven furlongs. An easy, flat mile would be no problem – just stop running over an extended mile and a quarter and stiff miles. Finally the trainer and the racing manager have got it right and the horse has got us out of trouble.”
An easy mile around Goodwood indeed proved no problem for Too Darn Hot in the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes on July 31. After briefly having to wait for a run passing the two-furlong pole, he showed an excellent turn of foot to beat his Royal Ascot conqueror Circus Maximus by three-quarters of a length, with Phoenix Of Spain back in sixth.
Connections mulled over whether to drop Too Darn Hot back to sprint distances and the colt was entered in the six-furlong G1 Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. However, a hairline fracture of his cannon bone was discovered in the days after his Qatar Sussex Stakes victory and he was immediately retired to stand alongside his sire Dubawi at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly
3 b f Sea The Stars (IRE) – Lynnwood Chase (USA) (Horse Chestnut (SAF))
2019 Form: 131111
Owner: Anthony Oppenheimer
Trainer: John Gosden
Breeder: Hascombe & Valiant Studs
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Star Catcher receives the award for Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly following a hugely progressive campaign that included three G1 victories in three different countries.
Bred by her owner Anthony Oppenheimer’s Hascombe & Valiant Studs, Star Catcher is out of Lynnwood Chase, a daughter of South African champion Horse Chestnut, who himself was bred and raced in the colours of Harry Oppenheimer, a cousin of Anthony’s father Sir Philip. While disappointing on the racecourse, Lynnwood Chase has developed into a talented broodmare, having also produced G1 Canadian International victor Cannock Chase and Pisco Sour, a G2 winner in France.
Star Catcher did not make her debut until late December, 2018, when she finished sixth in a Polytrack maiden over a mile at Chelmsford City for trainer John Gosden. She showed the benefit of that introduction on her seasonal return in a 10-furlong contest at Newbury on April 12, when she stayed on well to score by four and a half lengths.
She returned to the Berkshire course for the Listed Haras de Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial, again over a mile and a quarter, when she attempted to make all of the running but was collared close home by Queen Power and Lavender’s Blue to finish a close third.
Having side-stepped the Investec Oaks at Epsom Downs – won by her stable companion Anapurna – Star Catcher instead headed to Royal Ascot for the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes on June 20. Stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time, the Sea The Stars filly quickened strongly for an impressive victory over Investec Oaks third Fleeting.
Star Catcher and Fleeting re-opposed in the G1 Kerrygold Irish Oaks at the Curragh, Ireland, and the duo replicated their Royal Ascot placings. Under a masterful Frankie Dettori ride, Star Catcher was immediately sent to the front and the filly made all to beat Fleeting by half a length.
Following a short break over the summer, Star Catcher travelled over to France for the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on September 15. Despite Oaks heroine Anapurna also being among the field, Dettori elected to ride Star Catcher and he once again dictated the pace, with his willing partner staying on well to score by three-quarters of a length from four-year-old Musis Amica.
Star Catcher returned to the scene of her Ribblesdale Stakes win for her final three-year-old appearance in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, although the race was run on the tighter inside course at Ascot following significant rainfall.
After making the running on her two previous G1 victories, Star Catcher was instead settled in fourth and had to battle gamely to deliver her challenge between Delphinia and Sun Maiden entering the final furlong. As the trio challenged for the lead, Star Catcher stayed on resolutely on the testing ground to edge out Delphinia by a short-head, with a length back to Sun Maiden in third. Her win was particularly sweet for Dettori, who was recording his 250th G1 success.
Star Catcher is due to remain in training as a four-year-old and looks set to be part of a formidable team of Gosden-trained older fillies and mares in 2020.
5 ch h Sea The Stars (IRE) – Private Life (FR) (Bering)
2019 form: 111112 Owner: Bjorn Nielsen
Trainer: John Gosden Breeder: Bjorn Nielsen
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Stradivarius takes the Cartier Stayer Award for a second successive year, with the Bjorn Nielsen homebred having once again dominated the division, winning both the WH Stayers’ Million and the Stayers’ Triple Crown.
The Sea The Stars entire, trained by John Gosden in Newmarket, had already secured his place among the pantheon of great stayers with a remarkable 2018 that included a perfect five wins from five starts.
That sequence included victories in the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup, which saw Stradivarius scoop a £1-million bonus offered by Weatherbys Hamilton to any horse that could win all four races.
With the bonus up for grabs again in 2019, Stradivarius looked all set to follow the same programme of races and he duly started his season back at York for the G2 Matchbook Yorkshire Cup on May 17. Despite racing over an inadequate 14 furlongs and expected to improve significantly for his seasonal return, Stradivarius displayed his customary tenacity to edge out Southern France by three-quarters of a length.
All roads now led to Royal Ascot for the G1 Gold Cup on June 20, when Stradivarius faced several significant new challengers to his crown including Cross Counter, winner of the previous season’s Melbourne Cup, and Dee Ex Bee, who had found only Masar a length and a half too strong in the 2018 Investec Derby.
While his 2018 Gold Cup success had come on quick ground, conditions at Royal Ascot this year were different, with significant rain resulting in soft ground. Nevertheless, Stradivarius confirmed his status as Europe’s top stayer with a smooth length victory over Dee Ex Bee, with the only moment of concern coming when he found himself briefly short of room at the top of the straight. His win crowned a remarkable day for his jockey Frankie Dettori, who had also won the first three races on the card.
Stradivarius continued to show his superiority on his next two starts, beating Dee Ex Bee into second on both occasions. Only a neck separated the two in the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup at Goodwood on July 30, although Dettori’s celebrations near the line made nonsense of the winning distance, as Stradivarius became only the second horse after Double Trigger to capture the two-mile contest three times.
The G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York on August 23, the final leg of the WH Stayers’ Million, provided a different challenge, with Stradivarius having to concede 3lb to Dee Ex Bee following his two G1 victories earlier in the season. The penalty did little to deter Stradivarius, who stayed on well to beat Dee Ex Bee by a length and a quarter, with subsequent Melbourne Cup third Il Paradiso filling the places.
Stradivarius was given a break following his 2018 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup success but connections took the bold decision to keep him busy in 2019 and let him run in the final leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown, the G2 Magners Rose Doncaster Cup at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival on September 13. Shouldering a 5lb penalty, Stradivarius travelled strongly in third before storming clear under a hands and heels ride to readily score over Cleonte.
Stradivarius headed back to Ascot for the G2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on October 19, looking to repeat his victory of 12 months earlier. He stayed on strongly to press Kew Gardens for the lead entering the final furlong and the duo served up a tremendous finish, with both horses duelling for the lead all the way up to the line in the soft ground. After flashing past the post together, Kew Gardens was given the verdict by the narrowest of margins, with the 2018 St Leger winner handing Stradivarius his first defeat in two years.
Both Stradivarius and Kew Gardens are set to remain in training next year and their epic Ascot tussle could well be a foretaste of more tremendous battles.
BLUE POINT (IRE)
5 b h Shamardal (USA) – Scarlett Rose (Royal Applause)
2019 Form: 11111
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Breeder: Oak Lodge Bloodstock
Jockey: William Buick/James Doyle
Blue Point gains the Cartier Sprinter award after a superb unbeaten campaign that saw the five-year-old become the second horse in 99 years to win the G1 King’s Stand Stakes and G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in the same year.
The Shamardal horse, bred by Oak Lodge Bloodstock, went through the Newmarket sales ring at Tattersalls twice, first as a foal for 110,000 guineas and then as a yearling when bought by Godolphin for 200,000 guineas. Trained by Charlie Appleby, he was already firmly established as a top-level sprinter prior to this season, having captured the King’s Stand Stakes and finished third in the G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, both over five furlongs, in 2018.
Blue Point kicked off his 2019 campaign with three impressive displays at Meydan, UAE, starting with an effortless five-length success over talented Australian performer Faatinah in the five-furlong G2 Meydan Sprint Sponsored By Gulf News on February 14.
He posted another decisive win at Meydan in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint Sponsored By Arabian Adventures over six furlongs on March 8 and returned to the same course and distance on Dubai World Cup night, March 30, for the G1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments – a race he had been withdrawn from at the start 12 months earlier.
Always travelling supremely well, Blue Point accelerated strongly to take up the running with half a furlong to race and stayed on powerfully for a comfortably victory a strong international field. Runner-up Belvoir Bay, beaten a length and a quarter, went on to frank the form by winning the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at the end of 2019, while third home Stormy Liberal had previously won the same North American highlight twice.
Appleby immediately nominated the G1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 18 as Blue Point’s next target and the horse faced stiff opposition in the five-furlong contest, including 2018 Cartier Sprinter Mabs Cross, very speedy Battaash and US raider Imprimis.
With William Buick sidelined through injury, James Doyle came in for the ride on the Godolphin sprinter. Always towards the head of affairs, Blue Point went on passing the two-furlong pole and ran on strongly to see off Battaash in the closing stages by a length and a quarter.
Despite having been left in at the five-day confirmations, few seriously considered whether Blue Point would make a quick reappearance in the six-furlong G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes just four days later. With the decision already made to retire Blue Point after Royal Ascot, Godolphin’s founder and driving force, Sheikh Mohammed opted to let Blue Point try and win both G1 sprints at the meeting, a double only achieved by Choisir (2003) in the previous 99 years.
Showing no ill-effect from his King’s Stand exertions, Blue Point showed his usual early speed to race prominently behind Kachy, who led the 17 runners at a blistering early gallop.
Blue Point cruised up to dispute the running with a furlong and a half to race and forged clear soon afterwards, but had to be kept up to his work in the closing stages as Dream Of Dreams threatened to wear down the Godolphin sprinter. Only a head separated the duo at the line, with Blue Point holding on gamely to record a famous sprint double.
His two victories at the Royal meeting took Blue Point’s record at Ascot to a remarkable five wins from six appearances, all of them in Group races. With no major sprints at the course until QIPCO British Champions Day in October, and the prospect of unsuitably soft ground, Blue Point was retired shortly after the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Having beaten all that was put before him in a stellar season, Blue Point bowed out at the top, with his trainer commenting: “To do what he did within five days was the pinnacle of his career and he couldn’t have done any more. He is five now and thrives at Ascot, so we don’t think he has anything else to prove.”
Blue Point has joined his father Shamardal at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland, where he will take up stallion duties in 2020.
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt
2 b c Shamardal (USA) – Lava Flow (IRE) (Dalakhani (IRE))
2019 Form: 111111
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: James Doyle/William Buick
Pinatubo produced one of the most exciting juvenile campaigns in modern times and the Godolphin homebred receives the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt award following six sensational victories.
Named after a volcano in the Philippines, Pinatubo looked anything but explosive during his early pieces of work for Charlie Appleby, with the trainer opting to give the son of Shamardal a low-key introduction over six furlongs on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on May 10. He made an impressive debut as he readily beat subsequent G2 Tattersalls July Stakes runner-up Platinum Star by three and a quarter lengths.
Pinatubo continued his bright start in the six-furlong Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes at Epsom Downs on May 31, when he stayed on strongly after missing the break to score by a length and a half.
Having displayed plenty of stamina, connections elected to aim Pinatubo at the seven-furlong Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June 22, and he produced a scintillating performance as he lowered the course record with a dominant victory.
Already touted as one the most exciting two-year-olds of the season following his Royal Ascot success, Pinatubo stepped up to G2 level for the Qatar Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood on July 30. Settled in fourth early on by James Doyle, Pinatubo loomed up approaching the final quarter-mile and sprinted away from his rivals before being eased on the line for an effortless five-length success.
Pinatubo headed across the Irish Sea for his next outing in the seven-furlong G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh, Ireland, on September 15. With William Buick taking over riding duties, Pinatubo posted an incredible display as he took up the running with two furlongs to race and completely spread-eagled a high-class field.
His nine-length success over G2 winner Armory saw Pinatubo given a rating of 128 by the British Horseracing Authority, the highest mark in 25 years and 2lb higher than Frankel achieved as a two-year-old.
Pinatubo’s final two-year-old start came in another G1 contest over seven furlongs, the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, at Newmarket on October 12. Encountering soft ground for the first time, Pinatubo wasn’t able to produce another wide-margin success, but the colt displayed courage and tenacity to comfortably beat Arizona by two lengths.
After an outstanding season, Pinatubo heads into the winter as favourite for both the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby. In a quirk of fate, his biggest rival for the Newmarket Classic could be Earthlight – another Shamardal colt owned by Godolphin who gained two G1 victories during an unbeaten five-run season for trainer Andre Fabre.
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly
2 b f Frankel – Nimble Thimble (USA) (Mizzen Mast (USA))
2019 Form: 111
Owner: Khalid Abdullah
Trainer: Roger Charlton
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd
Jockey: Jason Watson
Quadrilateral takes the award for Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly following an unbeaten season that culminated with G1 glory in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at
Bred by owner Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, Quadrilateral is a daughter of the mighty Frankel and hails from a family that her trainer Roger Charlton is well acquainted with. As well as overseeing the career of her half-brother Usher, who failed to shine in two racecourse appearances, Charlton trained Quadrilateral’s dam Nimble Thimble, who won once in three starts. The Beckhampton handler was also responsible for several of Nimble Thimble’s siblings, most notably Three Valleys, winner of Royal Ascot’s Coventry Stakes and runner-up in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes.
Quadrilateral made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Newbury on August 16, when she kept on well in the closing stages to score by a neck in a maiden.
She returned to the same course for a fillies’ conditions race over the same distance on September 20 – a race won by G1 performers Nathra and Dabyah in recent years. Held up at the rear of the field by Jason Watson, Quadrilateral quickened strongly to hit the front over a furlong from home and powered clear for an emphatic nine-length victory. The manner of her performance saw her propelled to the top of the betting market for the 2020 QIPCO 1,000 Guineas.
Quadrilateral took the step up to G1 level for the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on October 11. Sent off the 9/4 favourite, she looked to be in trouble as the pace quickened approaching the final quarter-mile but stayed on gamely up the far rail to collar Powerful Breeze near the line and prevail by a head. It was a first domestic G1 triumph for Watson, while Charlton was recording a first top-level success with a two-year-old filly.
She goes into the winter at the head of the betting for both the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas and the Investec Oaks.
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit
The Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to Pat Smullen. The nine-time champion Flat jockey in his native Ireland enjoyed numerous big-race successes before the life-changing news he received in 2018 which has seen him become a substantial fundraiser for charity.
Born in Rhode, County Offlay, on May 22, 1977, Smullen was one of four sons. He initially was far more interested in football than horses, unlike his eldest brother Sean who worked for trainer Joanna Morgan.
One day when their father Paddy dropping off Sean for work, Morgan put her head inside the car and enquired whether Pat would also be interested in horses. From that point onwards, Pat’s equine activities took off as he was introduced to riding, hunting, show jumping and preparing horses for breeze-up sales.
The racing connection developed further when his father got in contact with local trainer Tommy Lacy and Pat went on to serve a four-year apprenticeship with the Tullamore handler. The first winner came aboard Vicosa, trained by Lacy, at Dundalk on June 11, 1993, following an initial ride the previous September.
The apprentice gained the attention of several other trainers and the winners began to flow, leading to Smullen being crowned champion apprentice in Ireland in both 1995 and 1996.
Then came the opportunity to ride as second jockey behind Johnny Murtagh for trainer John Oxx, where he improved again over a two-year spell. A first G1 success was achieved on the Tommy Stack-trained Tarascon in the 1997 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
He was also used regularly by leading trainer Dermot Weld. When Weld’s number one, Michael Kinane, made the move to Ballydoyle, Pat was the natural choice to take the job at Rosewell House in 1999.
The Weld connection, with Moyglare Stud the main owner, saw him crowned champion jockey in Ireland for the first time in 2000, thanks to the help of his agent and brother-in-law Kevin O’Ryan.
He went on to be Irish champion again in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016 – the year he gained his highest winning total of 129 in Ireland.
Not long after his initial jockeys’ championship, he experienced private joy when marrying trainer Frances Crowley in 2001. Frances hails from one of Ireland’s most famous racing dynasties – her father Joe was a successful trainer under both codes while her sister is Annemarie O’Brien, wife of the recording-breaking handler Aidan O’Brien.
Frances herself created history in 2005 when becoming the first female trainer in Ireland to saddle a Classic winner – Saoire in the 2005 Irish 1,000 Guineas. It was a great family day as Pat won the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup on the Weld-trained Grey Swallow. Pat and Frances are blessed with three children – Sarah, Hannah and Paddy.
In 2001, Pat enjoyed the first of nine Irish Classic success on Vinnie Roe in the Irish St Leger and he would go on to partner the great stayer for a further three wins in the Curragh contest – 2002, 2003 and 2004.
The duo also went down valiantly under top-weight when runner-up to mighty mare Makybe Diva in Australia’s Melbourne Cup in 2004, having won the Prix Royal-Oak, the French St Leger, in 2001.
The first of eight Royal Ascot victories was provided by Irresistible Jewel in the 2002 Ribblesdale Stakes, with British Classic success coming courtesy of Refuse To Bend in the 2003 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Over the next few years, Pat’s career continued to go from strength to strength as he racked up the winners, with highlights including Grey Swallow (2004 Irish Derby), Dress To Thrill (2002 Matron Stakes, Sun Chariot Stakes & Matriarch Stakes) and Rite Of Passage (2010 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot).
2015 proved particularly fruitful, as he landed two of Ascot’s major G1 prizes – the Prince Of Wales’ Stakes (Free Eagle) and the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Fascinating Rock). He also struck a great partnership with the Hugo Palmer-trained Covert Love, annexing the Irish Oaks and the Prix de l’Opera.
Even better was the come in 2016. After an early morning injury scare involving a dislodged shoe, the Aga Khan’s Harzand was partnered to victory in the world’s most famous Classic, the Derby at Epsom Downs, England. It was a dream come true for Pat, who regards the victory as his biggest. The rider and colt teamed up again to capture the Irish Derby later the same month.
With a career in full-flight, Pat was rightly regarded as one of the world’s leading jockeys. In March, 2018, he stood down from his booked rides after reporting “absolute agony”. This was initially thought likely to be a kidney stone and it was hoped that he would make a speedy recovery. However, it proved to be far more serious.
Pancreatic cancer was diagnosed and Pat subsequently underwent surgery. On medical advice, he announced, his retirement from the saddle in May this year.
Pat has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the battle against pancreatic cancer. His fundraising efforts have yielded over €2.5 million, culminating on Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September this year.