11/15/2011 7:31PM

Frankel named Europe's top horse of 2011


The 3-year-old colt Frankel – to the surprise of no one – has been named Cartier Horse of the Year for 2011.

The Cartier Racing Awards are Europe’s year-end championship racing awards. Frankel, still unbeaten after nine career starts and also named champion 3-year-old, went 5-5 in his 2011 campaign. After winning a Group 3 comeback race, Frankel captured four Group 1 mile races: the English 2000 Guineas, the St. James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in his season’s finale last month at Ascot. Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Henry Cecil, Frankel races again next year at age 4, when he is expected to contest races up to 1 1/4 miles.

While Frankel and his lofty reputation ruled European milers, a 5-year-old French gelding named Cirrus des Aigles emerged from relative obscurity to be named champion older horse. Barred from contesting some top-level French races because he is a gelding, Cirrus des Aigles capped an excellent season with a good win over So You Think in the Group 1 Champion Stakes last month at Ascot.

The German filly Danedream, who crushed her rivals in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe while setting a Longchamp course record, was named champion 3-year-old filly.

France-based Dabirsim, unbeaten in five starts, was named champion 2-year-old colt, while the Aidan O’Brien-trained Maybe earned year-end honors in the 2-year-old filly division. O’Brien also trained the 2011 champion stayer, Fame And Glory, while Dream Ahead, who beat Goldikova in the Prix de la Foret in his career finale, won the Cartier award in the sprint division.