THE Sea The Stars team swept the board at the Cartier Awards at Claridge's in Mayfair, London, last night.
The colt, unbeaten in six Group Ones last season including the Derby and Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, was named the Cartier Horse of the Year and Cartier Champion Three-year-old Colt, while John Oxx, his trainer, also won the Award of Merit.
The accolades for Sea The Stars, who is now at the Aga Khan's stud in Ireland, may have been predictable after his unprecedented season. However, that did not lessen the reception for young Hong Kong-based owner-breeder Christopher Tsui, whose horse many believe was the best to have graced Europe's racecourses in a generation, as he picked up his awards from Arnaud Bamberger, Cartier's managing director.
Yeats, who became the first horse to win four Ascot Gold Cups, also became the first horse to win a Cartier Award four years in succession when he picked up the Cartier Stayers' Award.
The Ballydoyle/Coolmore team rarely go home empty-handed from the awards and though they may have been thwarted at most turns by Sea The Stars with their three-year-old colts and Yeats is now honourably retired, it bodes well for the outfit in 2010 that St Nicholas Abbey, the highly impressive Racing Post Trophy winner, was named Cartier Two-year-old Colt.
The French, in particular the Head family, who are previous Award of Merit winners, were also strongly represented on the stage last night. Freddie Head's Goldikova, for the second year in succession one of the stars of the Breeders' Cup, finally picked up a much-deserved Cartier Award, for Older Horse. Last year she had to play second fiddle to the leading three-year-old filly and Horse of the Year Zarkava. The trainer's sister Criquette Head-Marek was also among those celebrating last night when Special Duty, the Cheveley Park winner, was named the Cartier Two-year-old Filly.
Ensuring an even geographical spread of honours, Sariska, Lady Bamford's homebred dual Oaks winner trained by Michael Bell, was Cartier Champion Three-year-old Filly, while Fleeting Spirit, also trained in Newmarket, was top Sprinter on the strength of her July Cup win and some near misses. (© Daily Telegraph, London)