The achievements of 2004’s wonder filly Ouija Board have been recognised once again, this time at the 2004 British Flat Racing Awards yesterday, when she followed in the footsteps of Falbrav to be crowned the British Horseracing Board’s second ever Horse of the Year.
Lord Derby’s fantastic three-year-old, who is trained by Ed Dunlop, won the Oaks and the Irish Oaks during 2004 before heading across the Atlantic to triumph in the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She was also an unlucky third in the l’Arc de Triomphe despite making a fantastic late run. Her impressive record earned her the title of the world’s best three-year-old filly of 2004, ahead of Atrraction and Soviet Song.
BHB chairman Martin Broughton said: Ouija Board is a worthy Horse of the Year. She won four of her five starts and picked up three Group Ones in three different countries. Her presence was one of the defining features of the 2004 flat season and she captivated racegoers wherever she ran. British Racing is the stronger for Ouija Board staying in training and we look forward to her exploits in 2005.
Her regular rider Kieran Fallon made a brief return from Florida for the awards ceremony in which he was crowned BHB Champion Jockey of 2004 after winning some £4.9m in prize money. This put him ahead of current champion jockey Frankie Dettori, who won more races than Fallon in the past season but less prize money, on which the BHB jockey rankings are based.
Fallon ended speculation about his plans for the 2005 season by confirming that he had signed a new deal to ride for Sir Michael Stoute. It had been suggested that Fallon might extend his stay in America after finding the warmer climate and the American work ethic to his liking, but he is now definitely returning to Britain for the forthcoming flat season.
Godolphin’s domination of the 2004 flat racing season was demonstrated as Sheikh Mohammed’s operation picked up awards in five of the 15 categories. Doyen won both the older male and middle-distance horse awards with St Leger winner Rule of Law taking the Stayer’s title. Saeed Bin Suroor took the trainer’s award while the Godolphin was the top owner.
Now in their second year, the BHB Awards recognise British racings flat champions, both equine and human. The equine awards were based on and coincided with the publication of the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings (formerly the International Classifications) and, in the case of two-year-olds, the European Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings.
2004 BHB Flat Champions
Horse of the year: Ouija Board
Two-year-old colt: Shamardal
Two-year-old filly: Damson, Playful Act, Titan Time, Soar
Three-year-old colt: Haafhd
Three-year-old filly: Ouija Board
Older male: Doyen
Older female: Soviet Song
Middle-distance horse: Doyen
Sprinter: Somnus, Var
Stayer: Rule of Law
Champion apprentice: TomQueally
Champion jockey: Kieran Fallon
Champion trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor
Champion owner: Godolphin