7 things you need to know about the newly crowned Cartier Horse of the Year

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  • Roaring Lion has had an unbelievable season and was crowned Cartier Horse of the Year recently at the prestigious racing awards.

    Bred in America, he has packed plenty into his three years, and achieved in abundance. He is now set for a new career at stud and we look forward to seeing his offspring on the racecourse in future years...

    Taking the title

    The three-year-old colt was recently crowned Cartier Horse of the Year at the prestigious Cartier Racing Awards (13 November) in London, topping a competitive category including stablemates Enable, Stradivarius, Cracksman and the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri.

    He became the fourth Cartier Horse of the Year in the last five years to be trained by Newmarket-based John Gosden, following on from Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017).

    Roaring Lion also gained the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt award, fending off Saxon Warrior, Masar and Sands Of Mali.

    A dream year

    Roaring Lion enjoyed a super 2018 Flat season, with outstanding victories in three Group One races in the space of just three months. He took the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, the Juddmonte International at York and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. He followed up on these superb wins with a fourth straight Group One success, when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day (20 October).

    American-bred star

    The eye-catching grey was bred at the Taylor Made stud in Kentucky, USA, where he was also reared before he was spotted as a yearling by the racing manager for Qatar Racing, David Redvers, and his assistant Hannah Wall at the 2016 Keeneland September Sales. He was purchased for $160,000 (£125,000) for the big owners.

    In the genes

    Roaring Lion is sired by Kitten’s Joy, out of Vionnet (by Street Sense), all of which are American-bred. He gets his roan grey colouring from his dam, while his sire is chestnut. He is Kitten’s Joy’s highest-rated offspring.

    Kitten’s Joy’s other high-profile progeny include the Charlie Appleby-trained, Godolphin-owned Hawkbill — winner of the Group One Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, and finished fourth to Roaring Lion in the Coral-Eclipse in July.

    His distinguished owner

    The outstanding colt is his owner Qatar Racing’s most successful racehorse to date, and has won his connections a total of £2,723,865 in prize money, racing in the distinctive maroon silks.

    Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, who heads the Qatar Racing operation, described the award as an “unbelievable achievement by the whole team”, adding that the champion Flat trainer, John Gosden, was a “master of his art.”

    “By a long way, Roaring Lion has given me my best times in the sport,” he said.

    A perfect partnership

    Roaring Lion’s regular rider is 23-year-old Irish jockey Oisin Murphy, who has partnered the colt to all — bar his debut run — of his starts.

    He has a total of 13 career starts under his belt, with a form reading: 1112-351311110. His last run this season was when he was tried on the dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this month, finishing 14th from 14 runners.

    “Roaring Lion is a credit to Sheikh Fahad and his brothers for their foresight and support of British racing,” said Oisin.

    “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 Group One wins in a row later in the season.”

    A future top stallion prospect

    Following his highly successful season, Roaring Lion has been confirmed to stand for stallion duties in 2019 at Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire, with an eye-watering stud fee of £40,000.

    “He is by some margin the best horse I have ever been involved with, and is the toughest horse I have seen on a racecourse,” said David Redvers. “His class, durability and will to win made him look cut from a different cloth this season. His pedigree and looks make him one of the most attractive stallion prospects to retire to stud in recent years. He’s a superior horse and I believe he will prove an equally strong influence as a sire.”

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday.

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