Cracksman enters the reckoning for Cartier Awards honours

Cracksman (Frankie Dettori) bounds clear to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. Photo:

QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday provided a fitting main climax to the flat season in Britain, highlighted by a stunning first G1 success for Cracksman. The Anthony Oppenheimer-owned colt emulated his sire Frankel by storming to a seven-length victory in the G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes over ten furlongs, a display that saw him enter calculations for the awards of Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt. 

Cracksman (108 points), trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori on five of his six starts this year, has enjoyed a spectacular second half to the season, with excellent G2 victories in both the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Qatar Prix Niel prior to his impressive Ascot success. 

A wonderful QIPCO British Champions Day for the trainer and jockey also saw the pair team up with Cartier Older Horse contender Persuasive (72 pts), who revelled in the testing conditions to take the mile G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO).

The 4-year-old filly, owned by Cheveley Park Stud, stayed on strongly for a length victory on her final racecourse appearance, with Cartier Older Horse division leader Ribchester (166) taking second ahead of Churchill (116), who is joint top of the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt category.

Gosden and Dettori have also been responsible for the outstanding Enable (208), who currently leads both the Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly standings following five consecutive G1 victories this season, including an imperious display in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, France, on October 1. 

The 2017 Cartier Racing Awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony before an invited audience of 300 at the Dorchester Hotel, London, on Tuesday, November 14.

The awards (Europe's equivalent to North America's Eclipse Awards) were established in 1991 to reward excellence in horseracing. There are eight equine awards, ranging from the Cartier Horse Of The Year to the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt and Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly.

European horseracing's top awards are delivered through a combination of points earned by horses in Pattern races (30 percent), combined at the end of season with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35 percent) and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph plus ITV Racing viewers (35 percent).

Public voting, with a Cartier watch to be won, opens today through and closes at noon on Tuesday, November 7, following the running of the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

In addition, the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the special 15-strong Cartier Jury, has/have done the most for European racing and/or breeding either over their lifetime or within the past 12 months.

Elsewhere on QIPCO British Champions Day card, Librisa Breeze (32), owned by Tony Bloom and trained by Dean Ivory, gained a breakthrough first G1 victory in the six-furlong QIPCO British Champions Sprint, a race in which Cartier Sprint Award leader Harry Angel (100) finished fourth. 

Britain and Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien, who won the 2016 Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit, equalled Bobby Frankel's record of 25 G1 wins in a year when 3-year-old Galileo filly Hydrangea (104) captured the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes from 5-year-old Bateel (76) to consolidate her fourth position behind Enable in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly division.

Order Of St George (84), also trained by O'Brien for a Coolmore partnership, gamely reeled in Torcedor (32) to take the G2 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. The consistent and talented five-year-old is a close second on points in the race for Cartier Stayer honours behind Vazirabad (87), who was runner-up to Ice Breeze (48) in the G1 Prix Royal-Oak at Saint-Cloud, France, on October 22.

While the European season is moving to an end, there are international highlights over the coming weeks, including the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar, USA, on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4.

The two-day meeting could play a pivotal part in the destination of the award for Cartier Older Horse as the top four in the standings - Ribchester (166), Ulysses (152), Decorated Knight (128) and Highland Reel (92) - may all head out to California. 

U S Navy Flag (80), successful in the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes and G1 Juddmonte Middle Park, continues to lead the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt division ahead of G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday, while Happily (80), a dual G1 winner herself this season, holds a healthy advantage in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly category.

Harry Herbert, Cartier's racing consultant, commented: "QIPCO British Champions Day has firmly established itself as one of the great fixtures in the calendar and this year's renewal produced truly memorable races.

"While the European season is starting to wind down, there are still opportunities for horses to mount a late challenge for honours at the Cartier Racing Awards, with the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar, California and Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia on the horizon."

The standings

Points earned in Pattern races up to and including Sunday, October 22

Cartier Horse Of The Year
Enable 208
Ribchester 166
Winter 164
Ulysses 152
Decorated Knight 128
Roly Poly 128
Barney Roy 116
Churchill 116
Cracksman 108
Hydrangea 104

Cartier Older Horse
Ribchester 166
Ulysses 152
Decorated Knight 128
Highland Reel 92
Cloth Of Stars 88
Bateel 76
Persuasive 72
Aclaim 64
Poet's Word 60
Zarak 54

Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt
Barney Roy 116
Churchill 116
Cracksman 108
Harry Angel 100
Thunder Snow 90
Al Wukair 72
Brametot 72
Ice Breeze 68
Capri 66
Caravaggio 64

Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly
Enable 208
Winter 164
Roly Poly 128
Hydrangea 104
Rhododendron 80
Sobetsu 56
Coronet 48
Lady Aurelia 48
Senga 48
Rain Goddess 44

Cartier Sprinter
Harry Angel 100
Marsha 76
Caravaggio 64
Tasleet 64
Battaash 56
Brando 48
Lady Aurelia 48
The Tin Man 40
Profitable 36
Librisa Breeze 32

Cartier Stayer
Vazirabad 87
Order Of St George 84
Big Orange 72
Stradivarius 60
Ice Breeze 48
Desert Skyline 36
Capri 32
Marmelo 32
Torcedor 32
Dartmouth 24
Polarisation 24

Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt
U S Navy Flag 80
Beckford 48
Sioux Nation 48
Unfortunately 48
Verbal Dexterity 40
Cardsharp 36
Havana Grey 32
Invincible Army 28
Nebo 28
Rostropovich 24
Seahenge 24

Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly
Happily 80
Clemmie 56
Laurens 52
Heartache 36
Wild Illusion 34
Different League 32
Magical 32
Nyaleti 28
Polydream 24
September 2

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