Last night’s 27th Cartier Racing Awards in London was a memorable occasion for Juddmonte Farms, as the Newmarket operation’s fifth generation homebred ENABLE was crowned the Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, capping off a stunning Flat season for Britain’s breeders.
The daughter of Newsells Park Stud stallion NATHANIEL enjoyed a remarkable year, landing five commanding Group 1 victories culminating in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
Speaking of the filly, Frankie Dettori said: “In my career I don’t think I’ve ridden a horse who achieved so much in such a short amount of time. She didn’t just win her races she dominated and destroyed them. She’ll be remembered for a long time as one of the greatest fillies that we have seen.”
Trainer John Gosden added: “She’s a wonderful filly, a gorgeous filly to be around. She’s very kind, very sweet, she knows her space – she’s tall and elegant.”
Enable’s dam, CONCENTRIC, has a two-year-old colt by DANSILI named CENTROID, a yearling filly by the same sire and a filly foal by FRANKEL.
It was a double on the night for Gosden and Dettori, as well as British breeders, as CRACKSMAN landed the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt award on the back of his impressive victories at York, Chantilly and most recently Ascot in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
This is the second time in just three years that Anthony Oppenheimer of Hascombe & Valiant Studs has had the honour of collecting one of Cartier’s prestigious awards, with homebred GOLDEN HORN having been crowned Horse Of The Year in 2015. The future is bright for the owner-breeder, with Cracksman’s dam, RHADEGUNDA, in foal to Frankel again this year.
With both Cracksman and Enable staying in training for 2018, the prospect of the two Clarehaven flag-bearers locking horns at some point looks nigh on inevitable, all being well. Speaking on the matter, Gosden commented: “If we’re really lucky enough we’ll meet at Longchamp and we’ll give that little man [Dettori] a tricky decision”.
Harry Herbert, Cartier Racing Consultant, added: “The prospect of Enable, Cracksman and Harry Angel, the Cartier Sprinter for 2017, all retuning next year is a mouth-watering prospect.”
Since its inception in 2011, QIPCO British Champions Day has delivered some of the world’s very best racing; a big finale to the European flat season in which the British racing industry can rightly take great pride.
The 2017 renewal last Saturday was no different, with spectators being treated to what has been hailed by handicapper Dominic Gardiner-Hill as “the best performance we have seen in Europe this year”. The performance in question was, of course, CRACKSMAN’s seven length demolition job in the Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes, which emulated his sire FRANKEL’s win in the race five years earlier and put the cherry on the top of what has been a memorable Flat season for British breeders.
Cracksman came into the race off the back of impressive performances in the Gr2 Great Voltigeur Stakes in August and the Gr2 Prix Niel in September. Connections opted to swerve a Gr1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe bid and instead targeted the domestic end of season middle distance showpiece. The decision proved a smart one, with Cracksman relishing testing conditions over the ten furlongs to pull away impressively from the rest of the field in the final stages.
Bred by owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer at his Hascombe & Valiant Studs in Newmarket, Cracksman came into the season with a lofty reputation that suggested he might turn out to be his sire Frankel’s first European Gr1 winner. A thwarted bid for the Gr2 Dante Stakes thanks to underfoot conditions meant for an imperfect preparation ahead of the Gr1 Epsom Derby, in which he finished 3rd. The colt kept knocking on the door at the top level, registering a nail-bitingly close 2nd in the Gr1 Irish Derby, before reappearing a month and a half later at York and getting his head in front once more, albeit in lesser company. Victory at Ascot on Saturday fulfilled hopes that Cracksman would indeed provide second season Juddmonte Farms stallion Frankel with a first European Gr1 success.
Cracksman is a homebred out of Oppenheimer’s Listed winning broodmare RHADEGUNDA (PIVOTAL), making him a half-brother to Gr3 Solario Stakes winner FANTASTIC MOON. We will see a full sibling to Cracksman on the track in the not too distant future, as Rhadegunda is in foal to Frankel again this year.
Other British-bred stars of the flat season have included Gr1 Ascot Gold Cup champion BIG ORANGE, three-time Gr1 winner DECORATED KNIGHT, and of course five-time Gr1 winning filly ENABLE, for whom a mouthwatering clash with Cracksman in the 2018 renewal of the Gr1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes now looks a possibility.
For all of the column inches afforded to the hugely impressive son of Frankel, one could be forgiven for thinking that Cracksman was the sole British-bred winner on QIPCO British Champions Day. However the speedy grey LIBRISA BREEZE registered top level success for Newsells Park Stud early on in proceedings, landing the Gr1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint by 1 1/4 lengths. This was a first victory at Gr1 level for the 5-year-old gelding, and indeed a first for his sire MOUNT NELSON.
Librisa Breeze is a dual Tattersalls graduate, having most recently been sold for 90,000gns at the 2015 Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale.
Following a maiden European Gr1 victory for their stallion of the moment Frankel, Juddmonte Farms completed a memorable weekend on Sunday when homebred ICE BREEZE claimed the Gr1 Prix Royal-Oak at Saint-Cloud.
Ice Breeze is under Prince Khalid Abdullah’s ownership and is trained by Pascal Bary. Well-beaten by Cracksman in the Prix Niel, he had bounced back by winning the Gr2 Prix Chaudenay on Arc weekend.
The 3-year-old colt was made to pull out all the stops by VAZIRABAD, the winner of the Royal-Oak for the previous two years, but stuck on well for jockey Vincent Cheminaud to pass the post a length and a quarter clear.
Ice Breeze was sired by Nunnery Stud’s NAYEF out of Juddmonte homebred WINTER SILENCE. He is a full-brother to Yorkshire Cup and Hardwicke Stakes winner SNOW SKY and has an unraced two-year-old half-brother by Dalham Hall Stud’s IFFRAAJ, named AIR FROST, as well as a yearling half-sister by Juddmonte Farms’ KINGMAN.
British-bred superstar Enable put the seal on her magnificent 2017 by winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Sunday.
The victory came just two years after the success of Hascombe & Valiant Studs homebred Golden Horn, also for trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori, who became the most successful jockey in France’s showpiece race with five wins.
Enable is now a winner of five consecutive Group 1s including the Investec Oaks and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO) and could stay in training next season.
The first British-trained three-year-old filly to win the Arc is from the British arm of her owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation. She was sired by Newsells Park Stud’s stallion Nathaniel and her dam Concentric was also a Juddmonte homebred.
The broodmare has a two-year-old colt by Banstead Manor Stud’s Dansili named Centroid, a yearling filly by the same sire and a filly foal by Frankel.
Trainer John Gosden said: “She’s a marvellous three-year-old filly. She’s very special and was well positioned by Frankie.
“The owner and breeder Prince Khalid, he bred the mother and for his whole farm to produce something like this is exciting for us all to see.
“I think it would be wrong to run her again this year. She’s raced really for 10 months in her life so therefore I would probably point out that if she’s in great form, we should consider next year. Maybe it would be wonderful to go to Longchamp for the opening of the new Longchamp and try and do it again.”
The afternoon started in style for the British-bred contenders when Wild Illusion won the Gr1 Prix Marcel Boussac.
The Godophin homebred is a daughter of Dalham Hall’s superstar Dubawi out of Rumh, making her a half-sister to dual Listed winner Really Special.
She was supplemented for the race and in beating Polydream by a length and a half, looks a live contender for next year’s British Classics.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “It’s great for the team and we’ll put her away for the winter now.
“On the back of that, staying is going to be her trip. We’ll see how she winters but I’m sure she’ll be in the reckoning for the Guineas.”
British trainers had a memorable day elsewhere on the card, with the first five home in the Gr1 Prix de l’Abbaye hailing from Britain, as well as the one-two in the Gr1 Prix de la Forêt.
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