The flat season in the UK is coming to a close and, when you look back at the year we have had, it is very difficult to pinpoint moments which stand out more than others. That said, there are a handful of horses who deserve a special mention for the campaigns they have had. Here are three runners which can stake a claim for being one of the leading horses of 2018 in the UK.
Three-year-old Roaring Lion can have strong claims to be regarded as the horse of the year in 2018 as John Gosden’s runner won four Group One races and got better as the campaign unfolded. After winning the Dante Stakes at York back in May, he was regarded as one of the leading contenders in the Derby. Although he could only finish third in the British Classic, he more than made up for it with victories following in the Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day. The colt proved his durability at the highest level over a range of trips between 1m and 1m4f. Unfortunately, he was unable to end the season on a high in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. Connections of their horse will be very proud of his achievements this year, however.
It’s not been a straightforward year for Enable, who did not see a racecourse until September. However, the filly has finished the campaign so strongly she has to be listed amongst the best horses of 2018. Gosden’s runner returned to France to defend her crown in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on just her second start where she held off the challenge of Sea of Class in the closing stages of the race. Just weeks later, the four-year-old travelled across to the United States where she became the first horse in history to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Arc in the same season. It remains to be seen if Enable will remain in training next year but the temptation has to be there to try to win a third straight Arc, where she has horse racing odds of 3/1 for the Longchamp contest.
Stradivarius has won all five of his starts in 2018 to end the campaign with a perfect record. The four-year-old started the season with victory coming in the Yorkshire Cup where he shook off any cobwebs to score by three lengths. Gosden’s stayer then needed to be at his best for the Group One Ascot Gold Cup in June and he stepped up to that challenge to outbattle the French-trained Vazirabad by half a length. Stradivarius had no issues adding the Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup to his name on his next two runs, while he still was at his best in October to claim the Long Distance Cup to his roll on honour this season. The chestnut colt has dominated his division and deserves full recognition for the way he has proved consistent throughout the year. With a number of two-year-old colts and fillies also shining in 2018, the future looks bright for another big season in 2019.