(Edited press release)
Sea The Stars was named Cartier Horse of the Year and Cartier champion 3-year-old colt at the 2009 Cartier Racing Awards, which were presented at Claridge’s Hotel in London Nov. 17.
Sea The Stars won each of his six races in 2009, all in group I company. The first two of those victories were in Classic races and he thus became the first horse in 20 years to win both the stanjames.com 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs.
After clinching the Derby, Sea The Stars dropped down to 10 furlongs for his next three starts and emphasized his dominance against the best in Europe with triumphs in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park, the Juddmonte International at York, and the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
A homebred out of the Tsui family’s mare Urban Sea and trained by John Oxx, Sea The Stars then emulated his dam with victory in Europe’s top middle distance race, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over 12 furlongs at Longchamp in October.
No horse before him had added Arc success to wins in the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, and that victory stamped him as one of the all-time great champions.
In the outstanding Cartier Horse of the Year Category, Sea The Stars prevailed from two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) heroine Goldikova, dual Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) victor Conduit, boylesports.com Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mastercraftsman, and the brilliant stanjames.com 1,000 Guineas heroine Ghanaati. Between them, the five nominees gained 16 group one races in 2009.
Sea The Stars also took the honors in the Cartier 3-Year-Old Colt category from crack miler Rip Van Winkle, Mastercraftsman, runaway Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Fame And Glory, and Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) hero Le Havre.
Goldikova topped a very strong division to clinch the Cartier older horse award. With four group I wins on the board this year, including his scintillating second Breeders’ Cup Mile triumph, the Freddie Head-trained filly beat out the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Conduit, as well as Fleeting Spirit, Dar Re Mi, and impressive group one Prince Of Wales’s Stakes victor Vision d’Etat.
The 2-year-old colt category was particularly competitive but it was the unbeaten group one Racing Post Trophy winner St Nicholas Abbey who took the award. The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt defeated Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere scorer Siyouni, the unbeaten pair of group one Darley Dewhurst Stakes hero Awzaan and group I Prix Morny winner Arcano, as well as Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) victor Pounced.
Special Duty stormed to success in the Electrolux Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket in October and she was crowned the 2-year-old filly for 2009. The Criquette Head-Maarek-trained youngster won two from four starts and defeated colts when winning the Prix Robert Papin (Fr-II). Also nominated were Termagant, winner of the group one Moyglare Stud Stakes, Rosanara, Hibaayeb, and Lady Of The Desert.
Sariska won the Investec Oaks at Epsom and cruised to a spectacular victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh. In a close-run contest, the Michael Bell-trained Pivotal filly took the 3-year-old filly award from stanjames.com 1,000 Guineas and group I Coronation Stakes winner Ghanaati, and the Henry Cecil-trained Midday, who added the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) to a Blue Square Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) triumph. Runaway Prix de Diane winner Stacelita and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Elusive Wave were also nominated.
Yeats ensured his place among the greats with a record fourth victory in the Gold Cup at Ascot. The Sadler’s Wells 8-year-old, who aroused great emotion when winning the Royal Ascot feature, was named the Cartier champion stayer for 2009, thus becoming the first horse to win a Cartier Award four times. In a tough division, he headed Alandi, who defeated Yeats in both the Irish Field St Leger (Ire-I) and Qatar Prix du Cadran (Fr-I). Also in the running for recognition were the top-class Ask, Schiaparelli, and Askar Tau.
Fleeting Spirit’s victory in the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) at Newmarket, where she defeated a whole host of top-class sprinters from far and wide, received the 2009 Cartier Champion Sprinter Award. Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye (Fr-I) winner Total Gallery was also in contention, as was the popular Borderlescott who secured a second successive win in the group I Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August. Art Connoisseur and King’s Apostle were also nominated.
Oxx was voted the 2009 Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit winner. The Award of Merit is for the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 18-strong Cartier Jury, have done most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months.
The Cartier Racing Awards were established in 1991 to recognize the achievements of racehorses.