Ouija Board was named Horse of the Year 2004 at the Carter Racing Awards on Wednesday night.
The three-year-old filly, who is a daughter of Cape Cross, beat Arc de Triomphe winner Bago, Falmouth Stakes winner Soviet Song, Coronation Stakes winner Attraction and Prix Morny winner Divine Proportions to become Horse of the Year.
The winner was picked by evaluating the points earned in Pattern races together with the opinion of a panel of racing journalists and votes from Daily Telegraph readers.
The award crowns a magnificent season for Ouija Board, who also claimed the Three-Year-Old Filly Award at the Cartier ceremony.
She first delighted owner Lord Derby and trainer Ed Dunlop by winning the Vodafone English Oaks at Epsom in June by an amazing seven-length, and later became the 10th filly to achieve the Oaks double when she saw Punctilious off by one-length to bag the Darley Irish Oaks at Curragh in July.
Third at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Ouija Board bested stiff competition to land the Breeders’ Cup V05 Filly & Mare Turf at the Lone Star Park track in Texas last month, where she finished a length and a half ahead of Film Maker.
“She is an incredible filly and we have had an amazing season,” says Lord Derby. “This is the ultimate accolade, although I had a moment of sadness because there were two spectacular fillies — Ouija Board and Attraction — but at the end of the day only one could win.”
Ouija Board will remain in training next year. “We think she is even better now, so we have exciting prospects ahead,” says Lord Derby.
Although he didn’t make it to the top prize, Bago — who was the only colt in the Horse of the Year shortlist — was named best three-year-old colt for 2004.
Another contender for the Horse of the Year prize, James Fanshawe’s Soviet Song was picked as best older horse while French-trained Divine Proportions was crowned two-year-old filly of the year.
Shamardal, who was trained by mark Johnston and is now with Godolphin, was the best juvenile colt, Elie Lellouche’s Westerner grabbed the Stayer award and Tim Easterby’s Somnus was best sprinter.
The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit, which honours people who have done the most for European racing, went to David and Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Horse Stud in Newmarket. The stud, which is managed by Chris Richardson, has won a string of impressive victories lately with Russian Rhythm, Iceman and Chorist.