Tighter at the top for Cartier Horse of the Year Award

The Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month appeared one of the defining races of 2013 when Toronado (70 points) swooped late to beat Dawn Approach (112) but both three-year-olds have been beaten since, meaning the race for the Cartier Horse Of The Year title has become much more open.

Toronado flopped in the Group One Juddmonte International, highlight of the Ebor Festival at York on August 21, in which Al Kazeem (124) lost his unbeaten record for the season when only third behind the consistent pair of the Aidan O’Brien-trained winner Declaration Of War (108) and runner-up Trading Leather (116).

Al Kazeem currently holds a narrow advantage on points for the Cartier Horse Of The Year Award ahead of sprinter Lethal Force (120), with leading three-year-old filly Sky Lantern (116) sharing third spot with Trading Leather. Declaration of War is on their heels and Germany’s best horse, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Sponsored by Betfair winner Novellist (86), is within striking distance.

Moonlight Cloud (72), trained by Freddy Head and owned by George Strawbridge, is another creeping into contention after a narrow victory over Olympic Glory (24) in the Group One Prix Du Haras De Fresnay-Le-Buffard – Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on August 11. Third, fourth and fifth that day were Intello (72), Declaration Of War and Dawn Approach. An exciting end to the 2013 season looks guaranteed.

Al Kazeem and Lethal Force are first and second in the Cartier Older Horse category, while Trading Leather has gone ahead of his Jim Bolger-trained stable companion Dawn Approach in the race for the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award.

Sly Lantern, despite two recent defeats, is clear of the others to gain the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award – Just The Judge (84) and Chicquita (64).

Lethal Force has a long lead on points for the Cartier Sprinter Award over Society Rock (64) and King’s Stand Stakes victor Sole Power (53). It is tighter at the top of the Cartier Stayer category, with Her Majesty The Queen’s Estimate (64) ahead of recent Group Two Darley Prix Kergorlay winner Verema (37) and close Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup second Simenon (32).

The struggle for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award is starting to develop, with American-trained No Nay Never (64), the commanding victor of the Group One Darley Prix Morny over six furlongs at Deauville, France, on August 18, retaining his unbeaten record which reads three successes, each in a different country. Sudirman (64) has the same number points after three successive wins, the most recent for trainer David Wachman and owners Fitri Hay and Sue Magnier in the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 11 when War Command (44) came third.

Vorda (40) and Rizeena (36), second and third to No Nay Never in the Darley Prix Morny, are out in front in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly division, followed by the George Margarson-trained Lucky Kristale (32), successful four times from five starts, most recently in the Connolly’s Red Mills Lowther Stakes at York on August 22.

Harry Herbert, Cartier’s Racing Consultant, commented: “There have been some unexpected disappointing performances from leading European racehorses in August and the Cartier Horse Of The Year Award standings are wide open at the moment.

“It is good to see two-year-olds establishing their names, led by the unbeaten Wesley Ward-trained No Nay Never.

“The second half of the season gets under way with the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting at Doncaster in September and a thrilling end to 2013 is promised, with reputations to be made and repaired.”

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