Marvellous Royal Ascot shakes up standings for the Cartier Racing Awards

Royal Ascot, staged from Tuesday, June 20 through to Saturday, June 24, enjoyed summer weather and sizzling hot action on the track, with thrilling top-class races throughout the five-day spectacular.
Plenty of Pattern race points were earned for horses going for glory in the 2017 Cartier Racing Awards, which will be presented at a glittering ceremony before an invited audience of 300 at the Dorchester Hotel, London, England, on the evening of Tuesday, November 14.
The 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.
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.
European horseracing’s top awards are delivered through a tried and tested combination of points earned by horses in Pattern races (30%), combined at the end of season with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35%) and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph plus ITV Racing viewers (35%).
Winter (116 Pattern race points), trained by Aidan O’Brien for a Coolmore syndicate, consolidated her position at the head of standings for the Cartier Horse Of The Year after she scooped her third G1 race of the 2017 when capturing the mile Coronation Stakes on Friday.
Godolphin enjoyed a fine G1 double on the first day of Royal Ascot, with Ribchester (86) in the Queen Anne Stakes and Barney Roy (80) in the St James’s Palace Stakes, and the talented duo move up significantly in the Cartier Horse Of The Year table.
Also on the 80-point mark is British and Irish 2,000 Guineas scorer Churchill, the 2016 Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt, who disappointed in the St James’s Palace Stakes, as well as Highland Reel and Decorated Knight, who were first and second respectively in the 10-furlong G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on the Wednesday.
Ribchester was winning his second G1 mile contest of the year at Royal Ascot, having previously landed the G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, and he heads the Cartier Older Horse Award category ahead of Decorated Knight and Highland Reel, another Coolmore superstar who has now won close to £6 million in prize money with his six G1 successes spread across three continents.
Barney Roy and Churchill share the lead in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt division, while Winter holds a hefty advantage in the Cartier Award for three-year-old fillies.
The three G1 sprints at Royal Ascot are always thrilling spectacles and did not disappoint in 2017. Currently in top spot for Cartier Sprinter is Caravaggio (60). Trained by Aidan O’Brien for a Coolmore syndicate, the son of Scat Daddy took his unbeaten run to five when getting up in the last half-furlong to deny Godolphin’s Harry Angel (36) by three-quarters of a length in the G1 Commonwealth Cup, staged over six furlongs for three-year-olds on the Friday. The first two winners of the Commonwealth Cup, Muhaarar (2015) and Quiet Reflection (2016), both went on to win the Cartier Sprinter Award.
Lady Aurelia (32) created history in 2016 when becoming the first US-trained horse to win a Cartier Racing Award, the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly, and the flying Scat Daddy filly is in contention again for more Cartier glory this year, having run away with Tuesday’s five-furlong G1 King’s Stand Stakes for trainer Wesley Ward.
The third G1 Royal Ascot sprint, Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs, saw The Tin Man (32), trained by James Fanshawe and ridden by Tom Queally, get the better of Tasleet (32) by a neck.
But the finish of the week came in the two and a half-mile G1 Gold Cup, in which Bill and Tim Gredley’s Big Orange (56), from Michael Bell’s yard and with James Doyle on board, grittily saw off 2016 winner and Cartier Stayer Order Of St George (28) by a short-head.
Big Orange currently tops the Cartier Stayer division ahead of France’s Vazirabad (31), twice successful in the G1 Prix Royal-Oak and a dual G2 winner so far in 2017, who had to miss the Gold Cup due to a setback.
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s racing consultant, commented: “Royal Ascot lived up to its billing and provided five of the best days of racing to be found anywhere in the world.
“There were outstanding performances all round, from the sprints to the staying races, which will live long in the memory.
“Year after year, we frequently see Royal Ascot results playing a pivotal role in determining the champions at the annual Cartier Racing Awards.
“The European Flat racing season is now entering its high-summer schedule, with the Irish middle-distance Classics and Newmarket’s Moët & Chandon July Festival both approaching.”
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