By Duane Fonseca
Godolphin’s superstar Ghaiyyath continued to make headlines in the world of racing despite being retired to stud after becoming the third horse owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to win the Cartier Horse of the Year prize.
The 5yo son of Dubawi follows erstwhile Godolphin greats Daylami (1999) and Fantastic Light (2001) into the history books after being announced victor of the top prize at the 30th edition of the annual Cartier Racing Awards. The former Charlie Appleby trainee scored a double after being adjudicated winner of the Cartier Older Horse category as well.
The Cartier Racing Awards were established in 1991 to reward excellence in horseracing. The Awards recognises performers in six other categories: the Cartier Sprinter, the Cartier Stayer, the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt, the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt and the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly.
European horseracing’s top awards are delivered through a tried and tested combination of points earned by horses in Pattern races (30%), combined at the end of season with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35%) and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph (35%).
In addition to the equine awards, the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 16-strong Cartier Jury, has/have done the most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months.
Ghaiyyath lit up the summer with dominant victories in three Group 1 contests – the Coronation Cup, the Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International and beat the His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum owned Addeybb, Battaash, owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Love to the Cartier Horse of the Year prize.
Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick throughout 2020, Ghaiyyath won the Cartier Older Horse class ahead of Addeybb, Enable and Magical.
Palace Pier, owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and trained by John Gosden, took the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt award following a superb campaign that saw him defeat the best of his own generation in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and then successfully take on the older generation in the Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois at Deauville. The other nominees for Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt gong were Kameko, Godolphin’s Pinatubo and Siskin.
Aidan O’Brien schooled Love winner of this year’s Group 1 Investec Oaks was named the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Battaash took the Cartier Sprinter honours. As a 6yo, Battaash was better than ever in 2020 and won all three of his starts over five furlongs – Royal Ascot’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood (for a fourth time) and the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York (for a second time). Trained by Charlie Hills, the speedster beat Dream Of Dreams, Glass Slippers and Glen Shiel to the prize.
For the third year in succession, the Bjorn Nielsen’s John Gosden trained Stradivarius was named Cartier Stayer.The 6yo captured the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for a third time while at Goodwood the following month he won the Group 1 Goodwood Cup for a remarkable fourth time. Also nominated in the division were Galileo Chrome, Princess Zoe and Wonderful Tonight.
The Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt prize was snapped up by Aidan O’Brien’s Van Gogh, who saw off competition from Battleground, Mac Swiney and St Mark’s Basilica to win. Owned by a Coolmore syndicate, the American Pharoah colt signed off his campaign with a dominant victory in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.
Joseph O’Brien schooled Pretty Gorgeous picked up the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly award after finishing the year with victory in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket. Also nominated for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly were Alcohol Free, Campanelle and Tiger Tanaka.
Gosden won the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit in 2020. The British schooler has saddled over 3,500 winners to date in his 41-year career and has over the years been responsible for a record five Cartier Horse of the Year recipients – Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015), Enable (2017 & 2019) and Roaring Lion (2018).
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s Racing Consultant, commented: “Back in the spring, nobody knew if we would even have a European Flat season in 2020, but with the hard work of everyone in the racing industry we were ultimately rewarded with a season to savour.
“Racing cannot continue without the ongoing support of owners and I would like to extend my congratulations to tonight’s winners - Godolphin, Coolmore, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Bjorn Nielsen and John Oxley.
“John Gosden has truly reached the summit of his profession and is the perfect recipient for the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit in 2020. With his supreme eloquence and communication skills, racing is very lucky to have such a fabulous ambassador.
“I would like to end by extending special thanks to Cartier, Sky Sports Racing. The Daily Telegraph and Racing Post.
“Cartier’s support of these prestigious awards stretches right back to 1991 and is ongoing, even in today’s troubled times. We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy such tremendous support.”
Laurent Feniou, Managing Director of Cartier UK, commented: “In what has proved to be a year in which so many people have faced exceptional challenges, I am delighted for the Cartier Racing Awards to be broadcast on Sky Sports Racing allowing the racing public to join us in watching the presentation this year. It is an honour to celebrate the very best of horseracing, especially this year as we honour the 30th anniversary of the Cartier Racing Awards. My heartfelt congratulations go out to this exceptional year’s winners.
“I would like to thank our long-standing media partners, the Racing Post and Daily Telegraph. A special thanks to Sky Sports Racing, with their assistance, we have produced a programme to be proud of, and I encourage everyone to tune in at 8.30pm tonight.”
Cartier Horse of the Year: Ghaiyyath
Cartier Older Horse: Ghaiyyath
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Palace Pier
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Love
Cartier Sprinter: Battaash
Cartier Stayer: Stradivarius
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Van Gogh
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Pretty Gorgeous
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: John Gosden