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Leap Of The Lion

Standings get interesting

Roaring Lion stormed to the head of the standings for Cartier Horse Of The Year following a sensational last weekend of European racing that featured eight Gr1 contests across three countries.

John Gosden (photo: Investec)

John Gosden (photo: Investec)

The three-year-old colt, owned by Qatar Racing Limited and trained by John Gosden, gained a third consecutive Gr1 success with a swooping neck verdict over Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, Ireland, on September 15.

Roaring Lion has now accrued 174 points in Pattern races so far this season, having also achieved Gr1 victories in the Juddmonte International at York on August 22 and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 7 to add to his Irish Champions Weekend success.

He may now head for the Gr1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20, and victory at the finale of the British Flat season could help the son of Kitten’s Joy clinch both the Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Awards for 2018.

Roaring Lion’s nearest challenger in the race to be crowned Cartier Horse Of The Year, Alpha Centauri (160), also ran on the same Leopardstown card, with the Niarchos Family-owned filly finishing second to Laurens (120) in the Gr1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes.

Alpha Centauri, a four-time Gr1 winner for Jessica Harrington this season, was found to have a chip in a fetlock following her shock defeat and the outstanding three-year-old filly was immediately retired.

The daughter of Mastercraftsman still holds a significant advantage in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly standings, with her Leopardstown conqueror moving up to second in the same category after notching a third Gr1 success of the season.

Laurens, trained by Karl Burke for owner John Dance, could further her Cartier Racing Awards credentials at Newmarket next month, with the Gr1 Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes on October 6 under consideration for the filly as well as the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on November 3.

Saxon Warrior (104), successful in the Gr1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, was also retired following his second to Roaring Lion, but owners Coolmore enjoyed a pair of Gr1 victories with fellow three-year-old colts Kew Gardens (84) and Flag Of Honour (58).

Both horses were trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, with Kew Gardens staying on well to take the final Classic of the British season, the Gr1 William Hill St Leger at Doncaster on September 15.

Aidan O’Brien – dominant force

The same trainer/jockey combination teamed up 24 hours later at the Curragh with Flag Of Honour (58), who comfortably beat Gr1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby victor Latrobe (52) to capture the G1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger on day two of Irish Champions Weekend.

Both colts still have significant ground to make up on the current leader in the Cartier Stayer rankings, Stradivarius (112), and a trip back down in trip for the Gr1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, France, on October 7 could be on the cards for Kew Gardens.

The Cartier Sprinter category is wide open, with four horses currently tied on 48 points – Battaash, Brando, Merchant Navy and improving three-year-old Havana Grey, who gained a breakthrough first Gr1 success in the five-furlong Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes for in-form Burke at the Curragh on September 16.

The Havana Gold colt, owned by Global Racing Club and Elaine Burke, is set to head out to Churchill Downs, USA, for a crack at the Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 3.

Unbeaten Quorto (48) firmly entered calculations for Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt honours with a determined victory for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby in the Gr1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes on the same Curragh card, emulating his sire Dubawi, who took the seven-furlong race in 2004, with only the Martyn Meade-trained Advertise (56) ahead of him.

Also at the Curragh on Sunday, Skitter Scatter (60), provided trainer Paddy Prendergast and jockey Ronan Whelan with their first GR1 successes in the Moyglare Stud Stakes – a performance that saw Anthony and Sonia Rogers’ filly leap to the head of the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly standings.

Longchamp offered up several clues for the next month’s Gr1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a tremendous card on Sunday, September 16, including a big-race double for legendary trainer Andre Fabre.

Godolphin’s four-year-old filly Kitesurf (56) annexed the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille, while Waldgiest (72), owned by Gestut Ammerland and Newsells Park, gained a fourth consecutive win with an impressive display in the Gr2 Qatar Prix Foy.

Both Cartier Older Horse contenders look set to return to Longchamp for the middle-distance highlight, which is also set to feature 2017 Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Cracksman (88) and stable companion Enable (8), last year’s Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, whose 2018 season has been restricted to one run so far -a glorious comeback at Kempton Park in the G3 188Bet September Stakes.

Sector leader is Poet’s Word 140 points, who will not run again this year because of an injury.

Cartier Racing Awards – points earned in Pattern races up to and including Sunday, September 16, 2018:

Cartier Horse Of The Year

Roaring Lion               174

Alpha Centauri            160

Poet’s Word                 140

Laurens                        120

Stradivarius                 112

Recoletos                     104

Saxon Warrior             104

Cracksman                   88

Kew Gardens               84

Forever Together         80


Cartier Older Horse

Poet’s Word                 140

Recoletos                     104

Cracksman                   88

Lightning Spear           76

Waldgeist                     72


Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt

Roaring Lion              174

Saxon Warrior            104

Kew Gardens              84

Masar                          68

Flag Of Honour          58


Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly

Alpha Centauri            160

Laurens                        120

Forever Together         80

Sea Of Class                64

Wild Illusion                64


Cartier Sprinter

Battaash                       48

Brando                         48

Havana Grey               48

Merchant Navy           48

Blue Point                   46


Cartier Stayer

Stradivarius                  112

Flag Of Honour            56

Vazirabad                     55

Kew Gardens               48

Torcedor                       36


Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt

Advertise                     56

Quorto                         48

Anthony Van Dyck     40

Soldier’s Call               26

Marie’s Diamond         24

Too Darn Hot              24


Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly

Skitter Scatter               60

Pretty Pollyanna           48

Signora Cabello            48

Beyond Reason            24

So Perfect                     24

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