Minding, a five-time group one winner in 2016, was named the Cartier Horse of the Year Nov. 8 at the 26th annual Cartier Racing Awards.
Presented before an invited audience of 300 during a stylish ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England, the awards saw Minding sweep top honors in the 3-year-old filly category as well. Trained by Aidan O'Brien for a Coolmore partnership and ridden by Ryan Moore, the sophomore daughter of Galileo won at distances ranging from a mile to 1 1/2 miles, QIPCO One Thousand Guineas, Investec Oaks, Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes, Qatar Nassau Stakes, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO).
Minding achieved Cartier Racing Awards' glory last year, too, as she was crowned 2-year-old filly in 2015 when she enjoyed two group I victories. Her rivals in the Cartier Horse of the Year category were Almanzor, Found, Postponed, and recent Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Highland Reel.
This year a new record was set with five of the eight equine awards going to horses owned by Coolmore partnerships, consisting in the main of owners Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor. All five of the award winners are trained by Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle in Ireland, who gained the accolade of Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.
Coolmore's Found, who led home a remarkable 1-2-3 finish for O'Brien and the owners in Europe's richest race, last month's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), was named Cartier older horse.
Order Of St George, winner of the group I Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, is another success for Coolmore and O'Brien, with the 4-year-old landing the Cartier stayer award.
The fifth award to go to a Coolmore/O'Brien horse, in a stellar year, was Cartier 2-year-old colt, won by Churchill. The Galileo colt finished a superb campaign with group one victories in two of Europe's best juvenile contests—the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
Alamanzor was named Cartier 3-year-old colt. Owned by Ecurie Antonio Caro and Gerard Augustin-Normand, the son of Wootton Basset was superbly handled by Jean-Claude Rouget, who trains in South-West France, to win three group I contests—the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, and the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Two fillies made history at the 26th Cartier Awards. Firstly, Quiet Reflection became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Cartier sprinter award. This follows her victories at the highest level in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. The Karl Burke-trained Showcasing filly is owned by Ontoawinner, Hubert Strecker, and Karl and Elaine Buke.
Lady Aurelia is the other history-maker, as she was the first horse trained in the United States to win a Cartier Award. Following a breathtaking win in the group II Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and victory in the group I Darley Prix Morny at Deauville, she captured the Cartier 2-year-old filly award. Lady Aurelia is owned by Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton, and Peter Leidel, and trained by Wesley Ward.
The Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit went to O'Brien. Even by his own exemplary standards, the trainer, based at Ballydoyle in Ireland, has enjoyed a magnificent 2016, being responsible for 22 winners at the group/grade I level. During the past quarter century, the 47-year-old has rewritten the record books, enjoying more than 250 group/grade I winners on the flat worldwide.
Harry Herbert, Cartier's racing consultant, commented, "I would like to extend my congratulations to the Coolmore team on the phenomenal achievement of gaining a record five awards. Minding and Found are brilliant fillies, while Order Of St George is a stayer out of the top drawer and Churchill's performances bode well for 2017.
"Aidan O'Brien's achievements, with Minding, Found, Order of St George, and Churchill plus many others in 2016 and during the last 25 years, speak for themselves and this outstanding trainer richly deserves the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.
"It is thrilling to see the Cartier 2-year-old filly award go to the American-trained Lady Aurelia, emphasizing how international racing has become. The 3-year-old filly Quiet Reflection is a worthy winner of the Cartier sprint award, while Almanzor's dominance at 10 furlongs is testament to superb handling."