Enable Crowned Horse of the Year

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Enable after winning the Arc | racingfotos.com

Juddmonte homebred Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), the winner of five consecutive Group 1s this year, was named Cartier Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly in a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England on Tuesday night.

Trained by John Gosden and ridden throughout the season by Frankie Dettori, Enable was third behind stablemate Shutter Speed (GB) (Dansili {GB}) in a Newbury conditions race on her first start of the year and hasn’t lost since. She put herself in Classic contention with a 1 3/4-length score in the Listed Cheshire Oaks in May before trouncing Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) by five lengths in the G1 Investec Oaks. She was a similarly facile winner of the G1 Irish Oaks six weeks later before besting Ulysses (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the Cartier champion older horse, by 4 1/2 lengths in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. at Ascot in July. Enable won the G1 Yorkshire Oaks by five lengths in August before besting Cloth of Stars (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) and Ulysses in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The Cartier awards, established in 1991, are decided upon by a combination of points earned in pattern races (30%), end-of-season opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35%) and votes from readers of Racing Post, The Daily Telegraph and ITV Racing viewers (35%).

Enable’s John Gosden stablemate Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) was given the highest rating in Europe in 2017 for his runaway victory in the G1 Champion S. on Oct. 21, and the Anthony Oppenheimer colourbearer was named Cartier 3-year-old colt on Tuesday. The winner of his lone start at two, Cracksman won the Investec Derby Trial in his second start on Apr. 26. He missed the G2 Dante S. after connections deemed it would be too much to try him on testing ground 2 1/2 weeks out from the Derby, and he subsequently put in an eye-catching performance to be third in the blue riband on just his third start. Cracksman was a neck second to Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Irish Derby, with connections thereafter announcing the bay would be put away to prepare for a 4-year-old campaign after the G2 Great Voltigeur S. The nature of a six-length win in that contest caused a re-think, however, and Cracksman traveled to France to take in the G2 Prix Niel on Sept. 10, winning by 3 1/2 lengths.

Bypassing the Arc and avoiding Enable, Cracksman could not have been more impressive when winning the Champion S. by seven lengths and, like Enable, stays in training next year.

Flaxman Stables and Cheveley Park Stud’s Ulysses was named Cartier older horse on the merit of wins in the G1 Coral-Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International. The 4-year-old, who retires to Cheveley Park Stud next year for a fee of £30,000, hit the board in all six starts in 2017, finishing third in the G1 Prince of Wales’s S., second in the King George and third in the Arc for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Ulysses’s sire Galileo was responsible for two other Cartier award winners on Tuesday: Cartier stayer Order of St George (Ire) and Cartier 2-year-old filly Happily (Ire), both trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners. Also hailing from Ballydoyle was Cartier 2-year-old colt US Navy Flag (War Front).

Order of St George becomes the first horse since Yeats (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) (2005 to 2009) from the same stable to win back-to-back Cartier stayer titles. The 5-year-old took the honours last year off the back of a win in the G1 Gold Cup.

Order of St George couldn’t defend that title this year, going down by a short head to Big Orange (GB) (Duke of Marmalade {Ire}) after setting the pace, but he notched wins in the G3 Irish St Leger Trial-over G1 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire})-G1 Irish St Leger and G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. He was also fourth in the Arc, and stays in training next year.

The beautifully bred Happily, a full-sister to Cartier champion and Classic winner Gleneagles (Ire) as well as G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Marvellous (Ire) and two other Group 1 horses, won four of seven starts in 2017. Those included Group 1 wins in the Moyglare Stud S. and the Jean-Luc Lagardere, the latter over males on the Arc undercard. Happily broke her maiden at second asking and became a black-type winner in her third start when taking Leopardstown’s G3 Silver Flash S. in July.

US Navy Flag may have been a slow burner early in the season, but he put it all together late to record a Group 1 double in the Middle Park S. and Dewhurst S. The full-brother to three-time Group 1 winner Roly Poly made his debut on May 1 but took five starts to break his maiden, which he accomplished at The Curragh on July 1. He was second in the G2 July S. next out and fourth behind stablemate Sioux Nation (Scat Daddy) in the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. in August before winning the G3 Round Tower S. by six lengths on Aug. 27. The Group 1 double came next, and connections opted to try the dirt in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 but that experiment didn’t prove fruitful, with US Navy Flag beating just two home. His stablemate Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), second in the Dewhurst, nonetheless provided him a boost on the same weekend with a win in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Godolphin, Britain’s champion owner of 2017, took home some more hardware on Tuesday courtesy of its Cartier sprinter Harry Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). Trained by Clive Cox, Harry Angel flashed promise with a second-start win in the G2 Mill Reef S. last September and he more than built on that this year with wins in the G2 Sandy Lane S., G1 July Cup and G1 Sprint Cup, the latter by four lengths. He was also second to Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) in Royal Ascot’s G1 Commonwealth Cup. The 3-year-old is set to stay in training next year.

Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Cartier winner Ulysses, received the Cartier Award of Merit. A leading trainer the last five decades, Stoute was born and raised in Barbados, where he worked with racehorses as well as in the media as a writer and commentator. Stoute moved to Britain at age 19 with the goal of furthering his media career, but after he missed out on a racing position with the BBC, he spent three years in North Yorkshire working for trainer Pat Ronan before relocating to Newmarket. Stoute was employed by Tom Jones and Doug Smith before taking out his license in 1972. Stoute very quickly enjoyed success in some of Britain’s top handicaps and in 1978 he sent out his first Classic winner, Fair Salinia, to win the Group 1 Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks’. Three years later Stoute’s Shergar emerged onto the scene, winning the Epsom and Irish Derbies and the King George. Stoute earned his first champion trainer title that year. Stoute would go on to add a further 12 Classic victories throughout the 80s. His reach began to go global in the 1990s, his worldwide luminaries including Singspiel and Pilsudski, who both won the G1 Japan Cup and were one-two in the 1996 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf, Pilsudski the winner. Singspiel also became the first British-trained winner of the G1 Dubai World Cup in its second running in 1997.

Stoute added three new Derby winners after the turn of the century, most recently Workforce (GB) (King’s Best) in 2010, who also provided the trainer with his first Arc win in the same year. Stoute is also renowned for his success with older horses, more recent luminaries including King George winners Golan, Conduit and Harbinger. Stoute has been champion trainer 10 times, holds 26 Classic wins and 75 Royal Ascot victories, a tally equaled only by his late rival and friend Sir Henry Cecil.

“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,” said Cartier Racing Consultant Harry Herbert. “His handling of Ulysses in 2017 was outstanding and sees that colt named as Cartier Older Horse.”

Of the equine award winners, Herbert said, “Enable enjoyed five commanding victories at Group 1 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 returning 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 Group 1 winners and he and the Coolmore team are rewarded with Cartier Racing Awards for US Navy Flag, Happily and Order Of St George,” Herbert added.

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