I’VE said it once and I’ll say it again – how has Johnny G not been Knighted yet? Surely it’s time for someone to say: “Arise Sir Johnny G of Gosden”.
Of course Gossa – different gravy in 2018 – doesn’t feature at Cheltenham this afternoon, as National Hunt racing is back with a serious bang at the home of the Festival.
But he will take centre stage in this column, because it’s the time of year when I give out the only honours that really matter in the latest rendition of the ‘Yeeehaaa Awards’ for the Flat campaign of 2018.
HORSE OF THE YEAR
No doubt in my mind that while Roaring Lion won the Cartier equivalent, Enable should take this accolade.
To win a second Arc on her first run on turf for a year was super special, and then history was made when she became the first victor of a Breeders’ Cup race after landing the Longchamp showpiece.
Enable is magnificent and there have been few if any better fillies to ever grace the turf.
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TOP OLDER COLT
Roaring Lion gets his moment here. I’m not convinced many of the divisions in this Flat season were that strong, and that very much includes races over a mile and a quarter and a mile.
However, from the Craven to the QEII Roaring Lion danced most of the dances, and he was brilliant in the Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes.
A class juvenile, Roaring Lion trained on well and as I put him up on ITV as my horse to follow this season I can only be delighted with how he has done.
TOP OLDER FILLY
Enable apart, it has to be Alpha Centauri. Her blitz in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot was without doubt one of the moments of the Flat season.
She was simply fantastic, and Jessica Harrington proved once again she is arguably the greatest dual purpose trainer on planet earth.
Too Darn Hot, Quorto and Madhmoon share the honours. Too Darn Hot was brilliant for Gosden in the Dewhurst and looks outstanding for the Lloyd-Webbers.
Quorto smashed up Anthony van Dyck in the Group 1 National Stakes in Ireland and looks like he could emulate his sire Dubawi as a start of the game.
Madhmoon got less publicity than the former pair, but his two wins at Leopardstown were scintillating for Kevin Prendergast.
He defeated talented stayer Broome with ease in a Group 2 when last seen and he promises to be an outstanding three-year-old for Hamdan al Maktoum.
Obviously Stradivarius. He won everything, but only once was given a test in the Ascot Gold Cup, where Vazirabad was injured and Order Of St George below his best.
Other than that Stradivarius never had a class stayer to beat, but you can’t take anything away from him. He’s a beast and been a joy to watch.
TOP IMPACT JOCKEY
No doubt Oisin Murphy is the man who has burst onto the scene. Roaring Lion and Lightning Spear have helped him show he’s one of the world’s best. Great talker of the game as well.
TRAINER WHO CAME OF AGE
Charlie Appleby banged in a Derby with Masar and the Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter for Godolphin. That is some double. He’s worked hard to get to where he is. Well done Charlie.
TRAINER WHO WE SHOULDN’T FORGET
Appleby’s Godolphin stable companion Saeed bin Suroor. A true gentleman, Saeed won the Dubai World Cup and had a couple of big juvenile Group 1 wins with Royal Marine and Royal Meeting. Saeed is back!
BUTCH BEAST OF THE YEAR
Laurens has to get a mention. She was super tough and proved a high class filly with a Classic success in France.
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UNLUCKIEST LOSER OF THE YEAR
Polydream finished the Foret hard held in the pack and then was denied a run at the Breeders’ Cup by vets even though there was nothing wrong with her. Tough to take for trainer Freddie Head.
BEST JOCKEY INTERVIEW I DID!
Has to be with James Doyle at Windsor after the Arc defeat on Sea of Class. Doyler was pure class.
MY TV MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Interviewing Philip Hide’s children after dad had been defeated in a race at Brighton shortly before his retirement. Their tears and words were magical. #respect
HORSE WHO WILL ALWAYS BE UNDERSTIMATED
Saxon Warrior was brilliant over a mile in the 2000 Guineas and if he had been kept to that trip would I suspect have been the outstanding miler this season.
RIDE OF THE YEAR
Jamie Spencer on Spinart at Yarmouth. One win from twenty one starts for this animal. Spencer was sensational to score by a head.
HUGE FOR 2019
Breeders’ Cup Turf second Magical, and Arc runner-up Sea of Class.