An extraordinarily successful year for Aidan O’Brien was recognised at the Dorchester Hotel in London last night as four Ballydoyle charges were honoured at the 26th annual Cartier Racing Awards while the master handler received the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.
O’Brien has trained 22 winners at Group/Grade One level in 2016, a remarkable haul even by his exalted standards.
Minding provided five of those triumphs, her quintet of successes coming at distances ranging from a mile to a mile and a half.
Triumphs in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Epsom Oaks, the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot earned the Galileo filly the Cartier Horse of the Year Award at the expense of Almanzor, Found, Postponed and Highland Reel.
Minding also claimed top honours in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly category, ahead of stablemate Alice Springs, Quiet Reflection and La Cressonniere.
As expected, Found, who led home a stunning 1-2-3 for O’Brien in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was named Cartier Older Horse of the year, ahead of Postponed, Limato and Highland Reel.
Ascot Gold Cup hero Order Of St George landed the Cartier Stayer Award for Ballydoyle ahead of Quest For More, Vazirabad and Sheikzayedroad.
O’Brien’s Churchill, ante-post favourite for next year’s 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, beat off competition from stablemate Caravaggio, The Last Lion and Mehmas to win the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt of the year.
Cartier racing consultant Harry Herbert said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Coolmore team on the phenomenal achievement of gaining a record five awards at the 26th annual Cartier Racing Awards.
“Minding and Found are brilliant fillies, while Order Of St George is a stayer out of the top drawer and Churchill’s performances bode well for 2017.
“Aidan O’Brien’s achievements, with Minding, Found, Order of St George and Churchill plus many others in 2016 and during the last 25 years, speak for themselves and this outstanding trainer richly deserves the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.”
Almanzor may have missed out on the Cartier Horse of the Year Award but the French ace did scoop the award for Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt, ahead of 2,000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold, Dermot Weld’s dual Derby winner Harzand and Sussex Stakes victor The Gurkha.
Quiet Reflection became the first three-year-old filly to win the Cartier Sprinter Award, with Limato, Mecca’s Angel and The Tin Man also in the hat for the prize.
Lady Aurelia was named Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly of the year, largely thanks to her breathtaking Royal Ascot success in the Queen Mary Stakes. Ballydoyle trio Rhododendron, Brave Anna and Roly Poly were the other contenders.
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