Although flat racing continues year-round on all-weather tracks across Europe, their season is all but finished after Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe day, as the National Hunt circuit prepares to take over for the winter months. With this early end to the season compared to North America, the Europeans hand out their year-end championship titles in early November at the Cartier Awards, their equivalent of the Eclipse Awards, at a ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in London.
It was no surprise who was named Horse of the Year. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dylan Thomas took home the trophy, and was also named Champion Older Horse. The son of Danehill ran in Group 1 competition every month from April to October, racking up victories not only in the Arc but also in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot, and the Prix Ganay at Longchamp. Unfortunately, when he shipped over to Monmouth Park for the Breeders' Cup Turf he had to run over a soft course he clearly did not like and finished fifth as the 9-10 favorite, well beaten by top American turf horse English Channel. J.P. Magnier, son of owner John Magnier, accepted the trophy on behalf of his father. Dylan Thomas is not done yet, as he is expected to run in the Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse for the final start of his career.
Two of Dylan Thomas' Balydoyle stablemates also took home the hardware, as Gold Cup and Irish St. Leger winner Yeats was named champion stayer and Peeping Fawn, who won four straight Group 1 races including the Yorkshire Oaks to close out the season, was named champion 3-year-old filly.
Epsom Derby winner Authorized, who upset Dylan Thomas in the International at York, was named champion 3-year-old colt. Dewhurst Stakes winner New Approach was named champion juvenile colt, while Cheveley Park Stakes winner Natagora just nosed out the popular Saoirse Abu for the juvenile filly award. Barry Hills trainee Red Clubs was named champion sprinter off his win in the Betfred Sprint Cup.
The Award of Merit was given to the Niarchos family, owners or breeders of 121 Group 1 winners, including this year's Epsom Oaks winner Light Shift. The Greek shipping magnates owned such champions as Nureyev, Miesque, Spinning World, and Kingmambo.