The winner of the Cartier Horse of the Year award is usually the year’s most successful horse in European races. A look at the current standings should help us to get a feel for which horses might win it and how the rest of this year’s events might turn out.
What Is This Award?
The Cartier Horse of the Year is an award that was first given out in 1991, as the most important of the eight Cartier Racing Awards for European horse racing. The winner is established by looking at the points they have earned in certain races as well as the votes received from the writers and readers of the Telegraph and the Racing Post.
Since it started, only three horses have won the award twice, those being Ouija Board, Frankel, and Enable. The winner in 2020 was Ghaiyyath, who is owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby. This year, the ceremony for the 31st award will take place in November, so we are a lot closer now to knowing who might win it.
If you have been checking the daily horse racing results and tips, the names of the horses in contention shouldn’t be a surprise. A look through the reviews of events such as Glorious Goodwood and the York Ebor Festival highlights some of this year’s most-fancied horses, although some of the top contenders missed these races due to various fitness issues.
How Is 2021 Shaping Up?
From the latest update to the standings, we can see that Palace Pier and Poetic Flare are tied at the top of the table. Each of these horses has accumulated a total of 144 points so far, with Palace Pier having recently won the G1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois by fighting off Poetic Flare in a thrilling final furlong.
Both of these horses are considered as the top milers of the current generation. However, there are other contenders who are just behind them in the race for the Cartier award in 2021. Among them, Mother Earth, St Mark’s Basilica, and Snowfall each have accrued 120 points at this stage. Interestingly, all of these three-year-olds have Aidan O’Brien as their trainer.
Adayar is another horse that could still win this prestigious award. Owned by the Godolphin stable, this Irish-bred three-year-old won the 2021 Epsom Derby followed by the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, putting him on 100 points. Hurricane Lane is another Godolphin horse in the running, with 92 points to date.
What Happens Next?
There are still some big races left to run this year that you will be read about in our sports section, so the final standings could vary considerably from what we can see just now. However, it would be a major surprise if a horse other than one of those mentioned here wins the award in 2021.
The way this award is calculated means that it is one of the most accurate ways of knowing which racehorse has had the best year. Any of the listed horses finishing 2021 strongly could deservedly win it.