In the face of very strong competition, Giant's Causeway, second in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), has been named Horse of the Year at Europe's Cartier Awards dinner in London, England.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Giant's Causeway went up against Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) winner Sinndar, Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Kalanisi, Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Dubai Millenium, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) winner Montjeu.
Giant's Causeway captured five consecutive group one races -- St. James' Palace Stakes, Coral Eclipse, Sussex Stakes, Juddmonte International, and Digifone Irish Champion Stakes -- to become the first European horse to achieve that since Mill Reef in 1971.
The 3-year-old Storm Cat colt, owned by Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier, won six of 10 starts this year, and finished second in the other four. He finished his season with a neck defeat at the hands of Tiznow in the Classic at Churchill Downs. He will stand the 2001 season at Coolmore Stud.
Harry Herbert, Cartier's racing consultant, said at the awards dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel: "This surely has been the year of all years. To have the likes of Giant's Causeway, Sinndar, Dubai Millennium, Kalanisi, and Montjeu in the same season is quite remarkable. The voting has been extremely tight with only a few points separating the contenders, and I can assure you that the American elections had nothing on this!"
The Cartier awards, in their 10th year, are decided by points earned in Pattern races, votes from a panel of racing journalists, and votes from readers of the Daily Telegraph.
His Highness the Aga Khan received three awards, two for his horses and one for himself. The Older Horse of the Year award went to Kalanisi, and 3-Year-Old Colt of the Year to Sinndar. The Daily Telegraph bestowed upon him its Award of Merit.
The Cartier Champion Stayer Award went to Godolphin's Kayf Tara for the third successive year. Petrushka, despite her disappointing run in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) took the 3-Year-Old Filly award after three group one successes in three European countries.
The 2-Year-Old Filly Award went to Superstar Leo, and the 2-Year-Old Colt award to Tobougg.