Breeders' Cup Winner Ouija Board is European Horse of the Year

Breeders' Cup Winner Ouija Board is European Horse of the Year
Photo: Skip Dickstein
European Horse of the Year Ouija Board crossing the finish line in the VO5 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Lord Derby's V05 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Ouija Board was named Horse Of The Year at the 2004 Cartier Racing Awards during a ceremony Wednesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in London, England. Two Kentucky-breds -- 2-year-old male colt Shamardal and 2-year-old filly Divine Proportions -- received Cartier awards for their respective divisions

The 3-year-old daughter of Cape Cross trained by Ed Dunlop won the Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) at Epsom and the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) at the Curragh. Previous to shipping to Lone Star Park for her Breeders' Cup triumph, Ouija Board finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) at Longchamp.

Ouija Board, who was also honored with the Cartier 3-Year-Old Filly Award and will remain in training next year, beat out Soviet Song, Bago, Attraction and Divine Proportions in the Horse of the Year race. Her competition in the 3-year-old filly division included Attraction, Quiff, Grey Lilas and Alexander Goldrun.

Gainsborough Stud's Sharmadal was bred in Kentucky by Brilliant Stable and trained by Mark Johnston. From the first crop of 2000 Cartier Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway  , Shamardal was sold as a yearling for 50,000 guineas and was undefeated in three races as a juvenile. Included in his victories were the Veuve Clicquot Vintage (Eng-II), in which he defeated eventual Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko, and the Darley Dewhurts Stakes (Eng-I).

A daughter of Kingmambo out of Myth to Reality, Divine Proportions is a homebred racing for the Niarchos family under trainer Pascal Bary. Undefeated in five starts, Divine Proportions won two French group I races -- Prix Morny at Deauville and the Prix Marcel Boussac at longchamp – as well as the Prix Robert Papin (F-II) and Prix du Bois (Fr-III).

While Horse of the Year honors eluded Soviet Song, the 4-year-old trained by James Fanshawe and took the Cartier Older Horse of the Year Award. Racing for the Elite Racing Club that consists of thousands of owners, Soviet Song won three group I races in 2004 – the UAE Equestrian Federation Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July, the Cantor Odds Sussex Stakes at Goodwood later the same month and the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes at the Curragh in September. She is due to race again in 2005.

Bago, also a contender for Horse Of The Year another Niarchos family homebred, was honored as 3-year-old colt. The colt trained by Jonathan Peace posted group I victories in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. He is also set to race in 2005.

The Cartier Stayer Award went to Westerner, the 5-year-old horse owned by Ecurie Wildenstein. Trained by Elie Lellouche in France, Westerner had four wins in 2004, including two in group I company.

Somnus, trained by Tim Easterby, won the Cartier Sprinter Award, with his French group I successes including the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. He is a 4-year-old Pivotal gelding.

The equine winners were determined by points earned in pattern races, the opinions of a panel of leading independent racing journalists and votes from readers of The Daily Telegraph.

The Daily Telegraph Award Of Merit for the person or persons who, in the opinion of a 21-member Cartier Jury, have done most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months goes to David and Patricia Thompson, owners of the Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket.

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