Ayear after the celebratory 30th Cartier Racing Awards were presented as an online event, this year’s glittering ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London was again a night to remember for award recipients, those nominated and for an international audience.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained St Mark’s Basilica saw off competition from Baaeed, Mishriff and the Arc hero Torquator Tasso to take the evening’s premier accolade, the Cartier Horse Of The Year Award. The Aidan O’Brien-trained three-year-old was unbeaten in four starts at Group 1 level in 2021, dominating the best of his generation in two French classics, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club, before overcoming older opposition in the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes.
St Mark’s Basilica, in the colours of Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor, is the sixth horse owned by a member of a Coolmore partnership to win this prestigious award, following Giant’s Causeway, Rock Of Gibraltar, Hurricane Run, Dylan Thomas and Minding. The son of Siyouni also won the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award.
After accepting the distinctive trophy from Laurent Feniou, managing director of Cartier UK, Paul Smith, son of Derrick, said: “Thank you very much. It’s a huge honour to win this award, it really is. It’s extra special to me – he’s in the purple and white, my father’s colours. We look forward to seeing him in his second career at stud now.”
Smith added: “I’d like to thank the five jockeys who rode St Mark’s Basilica. I’d like to thank Aidan and all the team at Ballydoyle and I’d like to thank Bob Scarborough who bred the horse. This is for them.”
Speaking later, Smith said: “St Mark’s Basilica had a great mind. I remember Aidan O’Brien saying that he had the temperament of Galileo and the speed of Siyouni. Those were his key attributes. I think when he came back from France as a three-year-old it was important for him to showcase himself to the British public when he took on Mishriff and Addeybb in the Coral-Eclipse.
“We’re very privileged. Ryan Moore was very complimentary about the horse when winning at Sandown and he had some high-quality horses behind him. His Leopardstown win was full of quality. I think he is very important going forward. We lost the great Galileo and this guy ticks all the boxes and he is going to be a very, very exciting prospect at stud.”
Winner a year ago of the three-year-old accolade, Palace Pier took Cartier Older Horse honours for John and Thady Gosden and owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. A dual Group 1 winner at three, Palace Pier won four of his five starts this term, including top-level victories in the Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and the Prix Jacques Le Marois.
Jono Mills, bloodstock director for Godolphin and Darley, was on hand to accept the prize and said: “On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, I would like to thank Cartier, the Racing Post, the Daily Telegraph and everybody who have put this amazing evening on. I would like to thank John and Thady Gosden for their wonderful management of Palace Pier this year and all the team at Clarehaven for their wonderful job.”
The Coolmore partners picked up a third award with Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly winner Snowfall. Also trained at Ballydoyle, the daughter of Deep Impact recorded the largest winning margin in the history of the Group 1 Oaks when capturing the classic by 16 lengths and followed up with further Group 1 success in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks.
Trueshan was recognised with the Cartier Stayer Award thanks to his hat-trick of victories in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup, Prix du Cadran and the Group 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. The five-year-old is trained by Alan King and owned by the Singula Partnership.
Alan King said: “This is our first time at the Cartier Awards and Trueshan is a special horse. His Glorious Goodwood win was a special day and he went on to back it up in the autumn at Longchamp and Ascot. He is away having a good winter holiday at the moment. He is a bit weather dependent and the race we are desperate to run him in is the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.”
Now retired to stud, Group 1 July Cup hero Starman was honoured with the Cartier Sprinter Award. Trained by Ed Walker for owner/breeder David Ward, the colt’s Newmarket triumph was a first at the highest level for both Walker and Ward.
David Ward said: “Starman was the second horse I bred and to say it’s been a joy is an understatement. To have such a horse as this has certainly changed our lives in a lot of good ways. So here’s to the future.”
Godolphin Native Trail collected the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Like trainer Charlie Appleby’s previous winner of this accolade, Pinatubo in 2019, Native Trail registered a Group 1 double in the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket during an unbeaten campaign.
Hugh Anderson, managing director of Godolphin, said: “Appleby and Buick, no strangers to the winner’s circle. For me, and I think for everybody in this room, it has been an absolute privilege and a pleasure to watch this partnership over this season.”
He added: “We are so excited by next year, 2022, I just want to thank you again and from Dubai our patron looks with great pride at what Godolphin is doing this season. We are firing on all cylinders.”
The unbeaten Inspiral captured the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award for John and Thady Gosden and her owner/breeder Cheveley Park Stud. The daughter of Frankel won all four of her starts, headlined by an impressive display in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Cheveley Park’s Richard Thompson said: “My father came home one evening in 1975 and promptly informed my mother that he’d bought Cheveley Park out of receivership. She was somewhat taken aback, but that was dad all over. He was a brilliant businessman, but the acquisition of Cheveley Park was a masterstroke.
“We have enjoyed many terrific moments on the racecourse and have appreciated watching how our stud has evolved over the years under the excellent stewardship of Chris Richardson and the team. After 46 years in the industry, we very much appreciate owning a filly such as Inspiral, now a homebred, Group 1-winning, champion two-year-old filly.”
David Elsworth was the recipient of the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit. In a racing career spanning 67 years, Elsworth has scaled the pinnacles of both flat and jump racing, combining classic success with victories in the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
After watching a video tribute to his career, Elsworth said: “Well, what can I say? I’ve never heard so much bullshit in all my life! Having said that, I’d like to thank Cartier and those misguided people who’ve got me up here. I am very flattered to be considered for this award when I look at my predecessors. And here I am, a 20/1 shot!
“It happens, doesn’t it? I’m very flattered. I feel like a bit of an imposter, in fact, but it is a great honour and when I think of those predecessors.... it is something I shall treasure and appreciate those people who have supported me.”
As the awards evening came to a close, Cartier’s racing consultant Harry Herbert shocked the packed room when he announced that he had made the decision to pass on the baton after 31 consecutive years hosting the awards. He has become synonymous with the awards and the evening, and he will be missed greatly.
Cartier Jury Members