Zarkava Gets Top Honors

Monday night, the 17th of November 2008, was a big night for all who attended the Cartier Awards ceremony in London. Some of the best horses in the world were on the nominees listings, but winners were selected through a points system and voting from the racing media and public, leaving no chance for unfairness. Everyone who voted was left with a mammoth task, as choosing between such a distinguished and deserving list of horses was no easy decision. But it would be a filly that took the top award of Cartier European Horse of the Year, and made her owner and breeder, Aga Khan, extremely proud.

In the Cartier European Horse of the Year category, the five nominees were Zarkava, Henrythenavigator, Raven’s Pass, Duke of Marmalade and New Approach. The award was given to Zarkava, who ended her horse racing career with a perfect seven victories off seven starts, and retired shortly after winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Some of her other astounding victories have included the French Oaks, the French 1000 Guineas and the Prix Vermeille. She also won the Cartier Three Year Old Filly Award, with Halfway to Heaven, Natagora, Goldikova and Lush Lashes as her fellow nominees.

In the Cartier Two Year Old Colts category, the Aiden O’Brian trained Mastercraftsmen won the award, by receiving a higher points and voting total than his other nominees, who were Bushranger, Naagoos, Crowded House and Donarivum. Aspen Darlin, Proportional, Again and Serious Attitude were nominees for the Cartier Two Year Old Fillies, but the award was won by Rainbow View. New Approach did not go home empty handed, with being awarded the Cartier Three Year Old Horse and O’Brian picking up yet another award with Yeats being named the Cartier Stayer of the year. Duke of Marmalade stood as example to Aiden O’Brians’ training skill when he was awarded the Cartier Older Horse and Freddie Head was proud as Marchand D’Or took the award for Cartier Sprinter.

It was a glamorous affair for both owners and trainers as their horses were recognized as champions, and those nominated walked away with the satisfaction of knowing that their horses were worthy enough to make the grade. And not forgetting the roles humans play in horse racing, the Cartier / Daily Telegraph Award of Merit was handed over to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.