(Edited press release)
Zarkava was the big winner at the at the 2008 Cartier Racing Awards in London's Grosvenor House Hotel Nov. 17, collecting both the Horse Of The Year and Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Filly awards.
The daughter of Zamindar was unbeaten in seven starts, culminating in a brilliant Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) victory in October, and owner Aga Khan revealed that the filly's great, great grand dam had been named after his daughter Princess Zahra, who also attended the 2008 Cartier Awards.
“I would like to thank Cartier for the prize that has been given to Zarkava and just share with you what she means to me," he said when accepting the Three-Year-Old Filly Award.
“Zarkava goes back to my grandfather's time, to my father's time and the family carries the name of my daughter and so she is very special and I think very exceptional. Sometimes we are associated with fast ladies and this is a case when I am very happy to be associated with a fast lady.”
After collecting the Horse of the Year award, the Aga Khan added: “Thank you very much for the honor and I have to mention my daughter. She bred Mandesha and she bred Darjina, and she will probably be putting her father back out to the field.”
Pennsylvania-based George Strawbridge Jr. was also among the 300 invited guests at the Cartier Racing Awards and he collected the Cartier Champion Two-Year-Old Filly award for his homebred Rainbow View.
“This is a huge honor and it is the most prestigious award I've ever, ever received," Strawbridge said. “It is prestigious because of the rather famous name. Cartier, thank you so much. It is also prestigious because this is the most difficult competition in the world and to receive an award like that when there are so many good animals, so many good trainers and riders, and so many generous owners, is outstanding.”
The Coolmore team also had a good evening with Yeats winning an amazing third consecutive Cartier Champion Stayer award, Mastercraftsman taking the Cartier Champion Two-Year-Old Colt award and Duke Of Marmalade landing the Cartier Champion Older Horse award.
David Nagle, who jointly owns and bred Yeats, collected the prize won by the 7-year-old and confirmed the horse would be staying in training next year.
"On behalf of John and Sue Magnier, (my wife) Diane and myself, thank you Cartier,” Nagle said. “It's a great honor to win this prestigious award. To win it once is a great honor, but to do it three years in succession is awesome for us all.
“Rumor has it that Yeats has been trying to duck through the gate at Ballydoyle and head for Coolmore, but we hope that (trainer) Aidan (O’Brien) will keep him sweet and get his mind on the racecourse for one more season. We would truly love to line up one more time in the Gold Cup.”
Sheikh Mohammed was presented with the Cartier/Daily Telegraph award Of Merit by Cartier UK's Managing Director, Arnaud Bamberger, in Dubai last week.
The ruler of Dubai's wife Princess Haya of Jordan, received the Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Colt award for the exploits of New Approach, including winning the Vodafone Derby at Epsom. It was the Jim Bolger-trained horse's second consecutive Cartier Racing award after gaining the Two-Year-Old Colt accolade in 2007.
The eight horse awards were decided by a combination of points achieved in Pattern races (40%), the views of racing journalists chaired by Brough Scott on Cartier's Racing Panel (40%), and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph (20%).
The Cartier Racing Awards are recognized as the most prestigious within European horseracing and were established in 1991.
Full list of winners at the 2008 Cartier Racing Awards:
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Mastercraftsman
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Rainbow View
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: New Approach
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Zarkava
Cartier Older Horse: Duke Of Marmalade
Cartier Sprinter: Marchand D'Or Cartier Stayer: Yeats
Cartier Older Horse: Duke Of Marmalade Cartier Horse of the Year: Zarkava
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum