The 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards were staged at London's Dorchester Hotel before an invited audience of 250 yesterday evening, Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
Introducing the awards, Laurent Feniou, Managing Director, Cartier UK, said: "I feel truly privileged to stand in front of you tonight to honour the very best of the horseracing industry.
"Since last year, time has flown. I feel it was yesterday that I congratulated in my opening speech Enable and her fantastic team for winning the Arc de Triomphe. Watching her winning the Arc de Triomphe again was a very special déjà vu. I am wondering now; will I congratulate Enable again next year?
"These awards epitomise everything that we like at Cartier - style, glamour, beauty and of course the constant and relentless search for excellence.
"As you know, the Racing Awards mean a lot to us all at Cartier. I would to raise a toast to the future of these brilliant awards."
Roaring Lion was named Cartier Horse Of The Year for 2018. Owned by Qatar Racing Limited, the outstandingly talented and consistent three-year-old colt becomes the fourth Cartier Horse Of The Year in the last five years to be trained by John Gosden at Newmarket, following on from Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017).
Purchased as a yearling by Qatar Racing's racing manager David Redvers at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for US$160,000, the son of Kitten's Joy enjoyed an outstanding year with victories in three G1 contests over 10 furlongs in the space of just over two months from July to September - the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, the Juddmonte International at York and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Roaring Lion followed up on those superb wins with a fourth straight G1 success when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day on October 20. If that were not enough, Roaring Lion also ran a great race on his only attempt at 12 furlongs when a close third behind Masar in Britain's premier Classic, the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs in June. Oisin Murphy was Roaring Lion's rider throughout the year.
Qatar Racing Limited's Chairman, HE Sheikh Fahad Al Thani accepted the top award and said: "By a long way, Roaring Lion has given me my best times in the sport. Firstly, I want to thank Laurent for this day and Cartier. This means a lot for everyone in racing and these are the awards everyone wants to win.
"To have a Cartier Horse Of The Year is an unbelievable achievement by the whole team. John is an unbelievable trainer and a master of his art. I remember standing at the Craven and he said to me 'this might be a little bit scary but don't be disappointed and wait until the end the year.' It was absolutely true.
"David (Redvers, Racing Manager) and Hannah (Wall, Racing Manager's Assistant) and all the team did the most unbelievable job in finding Roaring Lion.
"My wife (Melissa) had to put up with me for the whole year which was difficult enough I am sure! I would also like to thank my brothers for entrusting me with the racing operation. Oisin (Murphy, retained jockey) has done an unbelievable job - I don't think there is a jockey like he is riding at the moment except maybe Frankie (Dettori). Oisin is only young and hopefully has many, many more years to come.
"We will try and strive for another one of these awards. I don't think it will be easy, but we will try.
"Her Majesty The Queen has been a great supporter of our operation from day one. I was trying to keep my calm when Roaring Lion won at Ascot and she turned to me and said 'I think you are allowed to scream and enjoy.' I hope I am allowed back at Ascot after that!"
Newmarket-based Gosden, responsible for four of the five nominees for this year's Cartier Horse Of The Year, (the others were Enable, Stradivarius and Cracksman) added: "If you go back to last year's Racing Post Trophy, Roaring Lion came to win his race comfortably and then slightly turned left and played with the other horse. Oisin thought he got there too soon, but he didn't - he got there perfectly but unfortunately his horse wanted a game in the playground!
"When we got to the Craven, I remembered Vincent O'Brien telling me 'beware of American horses John, wait for the sun on their back and for the faster ground'. I said to Sheikh Fahad beforehand, that the Craven is only a trial and we were not going to win. - if you look at my middle and the horse's middle, they are both far too big. My wife has been reminding me about mine for years!
"The horse blew up in the Craven. He got half-good in the Guineas and worked it out. Then away he went. He is a magnificent horse who got bigger and stronger. He was bred out of California through Kentucky and unlike all the other horses, he is a sales horse, which is rare. The owner-breeders in this room breed the best horses in my opinion.
"Roaring Lion came through the whole thing and, along with his young jockey, grew in strength and together they were wonderful. They never panicked, not at Leopardstown and not in the QEII. If I had been riding him, I would have panicked!"
Oisin Murphy reacted: "Roaring Lion is a credit to Sheikh Fahad and his brothers for their foresight and support of British racing.
"David Redvers and Hannah found him in Keeneland and John obviously trained him better than anyone could.
"He was very difficult early on from the point of view that we never knew how much ability the horse had. He flourished as the year went on and we all benefited from his success through his four G1 wins in a row later in the season.
"He was a pleasure to involved with and what an exciting horse he is to go to stud in 2019."
Roaring Lion also gained the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award ahead of Saxon Warrior, Masar and Sands Of Mali.
David Redvers revealed: "Eight years ago, I was completely on my uppers. We had just had a shocking run of events - Ishiguru and Lucky Story were two horses who ended their stallion careers almost as soon as they had started them through an unfortunate paddock accident and a heart attack. We were just getting going and then got cut down.
"I went to New Zealand and tried to find another thread, some way that I could make a few quid in this business. Within a day of arriving, I got an email from my little sister, the most unlikely bearer of good of good fortune, who told me that there was a young Sheikh who would like to meet me for lunch at the Lanesborough Hotel (in London, UK) on Tuesday morning.
"This was Friday afternoon and I had arrived in New Zealand on the Thursday night. So, I found myself checking out this young Sheikh and realised that it might not be some fake sheikh and it be worthwhile getting on a plane to go back.
"I missed my flight after falling asleep in the airport. The whole thing was a nightmare and I got there with three minutes to spare. I met a rather different Sheikh Fahad at the Lanesborough to the God that you see before you today. He told me that he wanted to buy a racehorse or two and it was the moment that changed my life.
"The key thing to everything is to get a great team around you. Luckily, I have a great team. Hannah was already working for me, Peter Molony was my best friend and Ralph Beckett and Andrew Balding have helped this dream come true. You all know who you are.
"This tonight is the absolute highlight. All I can say with Qatar Racing is we are incredibly lucky to work with an unbelievable team of trainers.
"Oisin Murphy, I think you we all agree, is probably our greatest find of all and what you have done for us this year can never be bettered.
"I am incredibly honoured. Thank you to Cartier for this magnificent evening and this magnificent trophy. And thank you Sheikh Fahad for this incredible year."
But the brilliant four-year-old filly took the award for Cartier Older Horse in 2018. The Khalid Abdullah-owned and bred daughter of Nathaniel was on the sidelines for much of the year, but she made a stunning winning reappearance in the G3 188Bet September Stakes on the All-Weather track at Kempton Park.
A month later, Enable became the eighth horse to win Europe's premier all-aged middle-distance contest, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, twice. She created more history as the first horse ever to follow up success in the Longchamp feature with victory in the G1 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, USA.
Lord Grimthorpe, Racing Manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, received the award and remarked: "This award is made up of so many extraordinary components and this year has been hugely emotional.
"I would like to start with thanks to Cartier, the panel and the voters. Then there was the drive and patience of Prince Khalid and the genius of John Gosden and his team - Barry, Barry, Thady, Gary, Hannah, Imran who looked after Enable, Rab of course, the skill of Ian Wright and Benoit to bring her back and not least of course the flawless darn that is Frankie Dettori.
"And Enable herself had that extraordinary will to overcome both adversity and adversaries - she is the Queen of Juddmonte. Thank you very, very much."
There was further success for Gosden with Stradivarius, who gained the Cartier Stayer Award from Kew Gardens, Holdthasigreen and Vazirabad.
Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, the four-year-old Sea The Stars colt went through 2018 unbeaten, with his five victories including the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup. He was also successful in the G2 Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup, the G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and the G2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. Stradivarius' tremendous season saw him land the inaugural WH Stayers' Million, handing a £1-million bonus to connections.
Nielsen said on stage: "Thank you Cartier, The Daily Telegraph, Racing Post and John Gosden - how did you get a horse like this to peak five times?
"Frankie Dettori's race riding was brilliant, especially on Champions Day when he had to overcome team tactics. I know it was controversial, but he did. Thank you, thank you."
A record-equalling fifth equine win on the night for Gosden came courtesy of Too Darn Hot, who bagged the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Lord Lloyd-Webber's homebred son of Dubawi is unbeaten in four outings, ending the campaign with a decisive success in Britain's premier juvenile contest, the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October.
He was previously successful in the G3 188Bet Solario Stakes at Sandown Park and the G2 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, and is a hugely-exciting prospect for 2019.
The only other trainer to achieve five equine Cartier Racing Awards in a year has been Aidan O'Brien, who had Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Churchill, Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Minding, Cartier Stayer: Order Of St George, Cartier Older Horse: Found and Cartier Horse of the Year: Minding in 2016.
Lady Lloyd Webber, after accepting the award from Lauren Feniou along with her husband, said: "Gosh, I didn't expect to be up here quite so soon after the last one (The Fugue, who won the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award in 2012). I never thought I would be up here again and especially with a colt because we don't do colts - we try and sell colts.
"This is fantastic and very exciting. This particular colt had a huge team behind him, starting with Simon Marsh who is a visionary and those at the stud and its wonderful managers, Donna and Terry.
"There is also Malcolm Bastard, who really trained him for his first maiden win, Peter Stanley and Nick Wingfield-Digby, who has been very important to this colt. Really there has been a huge team behind Too Darn Hot and I just can't thank everyone enough.
"And thank you Cartier, this is the pinnacle. We have had a few award ceremonies this season and this is very much the best."
Lord Lloyd-Webber, described by his wife as the "horse-naming manager", added: "I must say, it has been a rather extraordinary year for me.
"I had the great luck of getting my first EMMY award and picking up a TONY award for lifetime achievement.
"It was all summed up by what happened when I flew back from Los Angeles the other day. Going through immigration, I was told 'congratulations' and I said 'it has been fantastic year' and the reply was 'Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst!'
"Nobody wants to talk about the shows anymore, only Too Darn Hot. But the name did come from a musical and it's called Kiss Me Kate."
If one horse lit up the summer of 2018, it was Alpha Centauri who won the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award.
Trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland for the Niarchos Family, the daughter of Mastercraftsman won a total of four G1 races in 2018, beginning with the mile Classic, the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas in May. She was absolutely outstanding at Royal Ascot, taking the Coronation Stakes by six lengths in course-record time. Another easy success followed when she landed Newmarket's Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes by four and a half lengths.
She lined up against older horses and colts for the first time at Deauville in August and proved she could take on all comers as she won the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois by an easy two and a half-lengths.
Maria Niarchos-Gouazé said: "I would like to thank Cartier, Laurent, ITV Racing, the Daily Telegraph and Racing Post for this award.
"2018 has been an incredible year. Alpha Centauri has given so much pleasure that her early retirement centres into oblivion. Thank God that she is OK and able to reproduce.
"Her four consecutive victories in G1s in the Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Falmouth and Jacques Le Marois will remain impregnated in our minds.
"I would like to thank the whole team - firstly those who raised her at Coolmore, Jessie and all her stable for training her, Colm (O'Donoghue, jockey) for riding her and Alan Cooper for managing her and last but not least, Alpha Centauri herself."
It was a close battle in the Cartier Sprinter division, with the honours going to Mabs Cross. Trained by Michael Dods in County Durham for owner-breeders David and Emma Armstrong, the four-year-old Dutch Art filly was a model of consistency throughout the year and capped her campaign with a tremendous performance to land the strongest sprint run in 2018, the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp Longines, at Longchamp in October.
Emma Armstrong said: "Thank you. As many of you know, we haven't been in racing too long - 15 years.
"We are owner-breeders, and we bred Mabs Cross. She was our 100th winner and out of our first winner, Miss Meggy.
"I just can't thank everyone enough. We are a small family business up in Lancashire and Mabs Cross was owned and bred there. We were told we would never breed a G1 winner in Lancashire and now we have bred two now in Lancashire.
"I would like to thank everyone involved from the staff at Michael and Carole Dods' yard to Paul (Mulrennan, jockey). It was obviously disappointing he couldn't see her through all her races (because of injury).
"My daughter Sophie looks after and runs the stud at with her husband - she can't be here tonight as she is expecting our first grandchild in the next week or two. And my husband David who can't be here tonight and does all the work in his head. Thank you."
The Rogers family is one of Ireland's great owner-breeders and won the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award with Skitter Scatter.
Trained by Patrick Prendergast for Anthony Rogers and his mother Sonia, the daughter of Scat Daddy improved throughout the season and was rewarded with three successes in Pattern company, culminating with a gutsy two-length victory in the G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in September.
Anthony Rogers said: "This is great. It means a lot to me and the family.
"I must just say one person who probably a lot of people have forgotten is my father (Captain Tim Rogers, who died in 1984). He got everything going and was an amazing man.
"This one is for my dad."
Trainer Patrick Prendergast added: "Skitter Scatter is a special filly. She has kept surprising us and kept on improving throughout the season.
"It has been a marvellous journey and I'm delighted to have a filly like her.
"I wasn't sure she was going to be G1 filly. The biggest thrill I got was when she won the Debutante. I saw that day that she actually loved the step up in trip despite being a very speedy filly and she then struck me with that victory as being a G1 filly. That race showed that she belonged with the best and would stay a mile.
"Ronan Whelan (jockey) is a very popular guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve and loves the game. He had a tumble in Dubai last week, but he is doing well and he always had a lot of faith in the filly.
"She looks like she has grown a little bit and is improving throughout the winter. I'll keep getting out of bed for her!
"Like all the good fillies, she is very relaxed. She likes her food, her sleep and her work. She is very competitive and we just don't want her to overdo it.
"I am sure we'll enter her in 1,000 Guineas trials, but we would be reluctant to run her on heavy ground. A Guineas trial is probably a possibility at somewhere like Leopardstown where they have good drainage and then the 1,000 Guineas could be the plan.
"I am very lucky to have her."
The Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit went to David Oldrey. One of the greatest talents to have worked in the administration of British horseracing, Oldrey's impressive CV involved The Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Board as well as numerous other bodies in the racing industry. A successful owner-breeder and racing historian, he is a true polymath.
David Oldrey said: "I think Halsbury's win in the Cesarewitch gave me my greatest satisfaction as I had a bet on him and was able to live on the winnings for a year or three.
"I think If I have deployed any real skill, it has been in choosing friends. To have actually begun with Peter Walwyn when he was only in his second year and had trained only eight or 10 winners and then to follow up 40 years later with Ralph Beckett when he hadn't trained any winners was a remarkable bit of luck.
"The whole thing has been enormous entertainment. Racing is a sport - of course it is also an industry, but above anything else it is a sport and that is what appeals it to me in particular.
"A very, very minor change I would make to racing today, a tiny detail, concerns the Cesarewitch. I was absolutely horrified that the Pattern committee, on which I used to sit, decided to fix 110 as the top rating for the Cesarewitch. If I had a horse rated 112 and couldn't run it in the Cesarewitch I would be apoplectic. Nobody is going to run with over 10 stone so it won't make any real difference.
"It means a considerable amount to me to win this award and I haven't really reflected yet - I have only just got it.
"The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association were kind enough to give me their comparable award and the Queen won that the year before. I don't know if she will speak to me if we happen to meet.
"The whole thing has been an enormous joy. As you get older, the fun matters more. One way I have had fun is that in over 60 years, I don't think I have ever owned 100 per cent of any horse. There must have been over 100 horses and some always had five, 10, 20 or 30 per cent with me."