The John Gosden-trained superstar Roaring Lion was crowned the Cartier Horse of the Year in front of racing’s royalty at the glittering Cartier Racing Awards ceremony last night (13 November), beating his stablemate, the wonder filly Enable, to take the 2018 prestigious title.
Owned by Qatar Racing, the super talented and consistent three-year-old colt became the fourth Cartier Horse Of The Year in the last five years to be trained by the Newmarket-based champion Flat trainer, following on from Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017).
Roaring Lion was purchased as a yearling by Qatar Racing’s racing manager David Redvers at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for $160,000 (£123,000). The son of Kitten’s Joy enjoyed an outstanding year with victories in three Group One races over just 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.
The colt followed up on these brilliant victories with a fourth straight Group One success when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
John Gosden also trains three of the other four nominations for Cartier Horse of the Year — Enable, Stradivarius and Cracksman — while the final nomination for this award was the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri.
“By a long way, Roaring Lion has given me my best times in the sport,” said Qatar Racing’s Sheikh Fahad Al Thani. “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.
“My wife, Melissa, had to put up with me for the whole year, which was difficult enough I am sure. 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 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.”
The Cartier award winners 2018:
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Too Darn Hot
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Skitter Scatter
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Roaring Lion
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Alpha Centauri
Cartier Sprinter: Mabs Cross
Cartier Stayer: Stradivarius
Cartier Older Horse: Enable
Cartier Horse of the Year: Roaring Lion owned by Qatar Racing Limited
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: David Oldrey
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