The five European Breeders’ Cup winners missed out on trophies at the Cartier Racing Awards, Europe’s equivalent of the Eclipse Awards, which were presented in London Nov. 17.
Zarkava, the unbeaten filly owned by the Aga Khan, gained the Cartier Horse of the Year ahead of Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Raven’s Pass, Epsom Derby (Eng-I) victor New Approach, Duke of Marmalade, and Henrythenavigator. The filly, whose amazing winning sequence culminated in an impressive triumph in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) in October, also took the Cartier 3-year-old filly award from Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Goldikova.
Raven’s Pass just failed by the narrowest of margins in the Cartier 3-year-old colt category. That award went to New Approach, who is owned by Princess Haya, Sheikh Mohammed’s wife. There was similarly close finish to the Cartier 2-year-old colt award, with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum, trained by John Gosden for Princess Haya, just nipped by Mastercraftsman, winner of four races including two group I events. Gosden did end up with a Cartier Award thanks to Rainbow View, owned and bred by American George Strawbridge, who took 2-year-old filly honors.
Duke of Marmalade, trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland for a Coolmore syndicate like Mastercraftsman, won the Cartier older horse award despite disappointing in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. His five consecutive group I victories earlier in the year earned him top honors.
O’Brien and Coolmore also succeeded with Yeats--the Cartier champion stayer--while the Freddie Head-trained Marchand D’Or took the Cartier champion sprinter award.
Sheikh Mohammed, described as racing’s biggest investor and benefactor, was voted the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit winner. He couldn’t attend the awards’ ceremony before an invited audience of 300 at the 18th Cartier Racing Awards, but was presented with his award by Arnaud Bamberger, the Cartier UK managing director, in Dubai beforehand.
On his acceptance of the Award of Merit, Sheikh Mohammed said: “I am delighted by this award. I love racing and breeding. We race not only in England and Europe as Godolphin is all round the world. I am very, very pleased with my racing company and my breeding operation. I love racing and I will always be involved in the sport. Thank you very much.”
The Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit is for the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 20-member Cartier Jury, has/have done most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months. Sheikh Mohammed’s interest in the sport started in England more than 40 years ago and it has grown and developed into a worldwide empire.