Same in: - PA News
IC Teesside
Nov 13 2003
By Evening Gazette

Dalakhani is Cartier's biggest jewel

Dalakhani swept the boards at the Cartier Racing Awards ceremony in London last night when capturing the titles of Horse of the Year and Top Three-Year-Old Colt.

The brilliant Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and French Derby winner dominated both sections at a function attended by an audience of leading owners, trainers, breeders and other racing personalities.

In being crowed Horse of the Year the Aga Khan's Dalakhani amassed a total of 609 points and on receiving the trophy on behalf of her father Princess Zara paid tribute to the grey saying: "Dalakhani was a horse who did everything that was asked of him and he had a symbiotic relationship with his jockey.

"It is also important to us that as a relative of Nasrullah he very much comes from home."

Princess Zara was joined on the podium by Dalakhani's trainer Alain de Royer Dupre who likened training Dalakhani and getting the award to "a dream".

The biggest cheer of the evening amongst the equine awards was reserved for the 10-year-old Persian Punch who after winning the award for Top Stayer in 2001 repeated the feat courtesy of his successes in the Goodwood Cup, Doncaster Cup and Jockey Club Cup.

His owner Jeff Smith gave a heart felt appraisal of the evergreen gelding who is the most popular horse in training on the Flat in Britain.

He said: "He is a wonderful horse for us to enjoy and remember and I'm as proud as punch to own him. He has reached out to every facet of the industry and a great example of the respect he's gained was one day when I noticed a trainer who was close to tears as he watched losing punters cheering home Persian Punch."

There was a strong field for the Older Horse award category but the accolade went to the much-travelled Falbrav.

The Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old caught the imagination of the racing world this year when he notched four Group One successes and ended the year with a brave run in defeat when beaten only a head by dead-heaters High Chaparral and Johar in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

Sir Michael Stoute's Russian Rhythm was voted top three-year-old filly courtesy of her victories in the 1000 Guineas, the Coronation Stakes and the Nassau Stakes. Owner-breeders David and Patricia Thompson received the trophy.

The award for Top Sprinter went to Oasis Dream who will be remembered as the horse who stopped Australian sprinter Choisir from landing the July Cup at Newmarket when that rival was riding on the crest of a wave following two successes at Royal Ascot.

His owner Khalid Abdulla's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said on receiving the award: "Prince Khalid will be absolutely chuffed to get this award. John Gosden has done a fantastic job with Oasis Dream who ran some great races and we've really enjoyed the whole trip."

One Cool Cat and Attraction took the awards for Top Two-Year-Old Colt and Top Two-Year-Old Filly respectively .

Attraction's owner Guy Roxburghe delivered a most revealing victory speech about the Mark Johnston-trained filly.

He said: "If you'd told me a year ago that she would win this I would have said you were barking mad.

"With her conformation nobody could have predicted what she achieved and I would like to pay tribute to Mark and his team and say I don't think any other trainer would have achieved what he did."

Tom Magnier, son of owners John and Susan Magnier, received the award for One Cool Cat who was trained by Aidan O'Brien to win two Group Ones and go into winter quarters as hot favourite for the 2000 Guineas.