Our racing team nominate their stars of the 2018 Flat season

Check out our Flat Awards for 2018
Check out our Flat Awards for 2018

Ed Chamberlin joins David Ord, Ben Linfoot and Matt Brocklebank to nominate his horse, trainer and jockey of the year.

HORSE OF THE YEAR

Ed Chamberlin – Stradivarius

For me landing the £1million Weatherbys Hamilton bonus was the equivalent of an athlete winning the New York, Boston and London Marathons in the same year.

He wasn't at his best in the Londsdale or QIPCO Long Distance Cup but those two wins show the guts and courage he has. Enable, Roaring Lion and Alpha Centauri are more flashy but none braver than my worthy winner, Stradvarius.

David Ord - Roaring Lion

How can it not be? Which other horse has turned up at all the major dances throughout the campaign? Faced foes from his own and the older generation - and more often than not emerged triumphant?

In the unfortunate absence of his Investec Derby conqueror Masar, the son of Kitten's Joy picked up the torch for the Classic generation and rattled off Group One wins in the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International, QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He was getting better with racing and was a credit to connections.

Matt Brocklebank - Stradivarius

The signs were there in his Classic campaign, Stradivarius having won at Royal Ascot and run a most eye-catching race in defeat in the St Leger at Doncaster.

He's stepped up to the plate and more this year, though, rattling off a perfect five from five and looking to do so with a little bit up his sleeve on each occasion. Are we talking about a golden age for stayers? Probably not, but Stradivarius has without question lit up the division, and the Flat season in general.

Ben Linfoot - Enable

It simply has to be history-maker Enable. The first horse to win back-to-back Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes at two different tracks, the first horse to win at the Breeders' Cup following victory in the big one at Longchamp. She's some filly.

Unbeaten over 1m4f. Seven Group Ones in a row. And her exploits in France and America came on the back of an injury and an unsettled prep. She's some horse.

That Breeders' Cup Turf will live long in the memory, too. What a race. It says something that we can't even agree on the best horse in John Gosden's yard this year - and we've not even mentioned Cracksman.

TRAINER OF THE YEAR

Ed Chamberlin - John Gosden

Having dominated so many of the major Festivals, and trained three of the four on my Horse of the Year shortlist, it has to be John Gosden.

All three of the above were training masterclasses - Stradivarius' longevity through the season, Roaring Lion's remarkable campaign following the inauspicious start in the Craven and Enable overcoming her difficulties to win a second Arc and the Breeders' Cup Turf. The man is a master of his craft.

David Ord - John Gosden

For his handling of Roaring Lion alone. Here was a colt there to be lost in the spring after bombing out in the Craven and finishing fifth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas having raced solo.

But the Clarehaven team found the key to him and having started the re-build process with a fluent Dante success. he never looked back. Throw in Stradivarius, Enable, Too Darn Hot and another trainers' championship and you have a clear-cut winner.

Matt Brocklebank - Charlie Appleby

You have to keep reminding yourself that Charlie Appleby only picked up his training licence in 2013, and let's be fair he clearly had some rebuilding to do - on the PR front at least - following the fall-from-grace of Godolphin's Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Things could hardly have gone better in the intervening years, but 2018 has been the one to catapult Appleby right into the upper echelons of world-class handlers. He's won all over the globe, provided Sheikh Mohammed with a first Investec Derby winner in the famous royal blue silks, and also a first Melbourne Cup victory.

He took his Breeders' Cup tally to an eye-catching 3-6, while next season can look forward to two of the most exciting young prospects in Quorto and Line Of Duty. Appleby always refers to the team, to High Highness and the opportunity he's been given; it's high time he took some credit for himself.

Charlie Appleby savours his Melbourne Cup win
Charlie Appleby savours his Melbourne Cup win

Ben Linfoot - John Gosden

It's a close one and I was tempted to take this to deadlock and rely on the public vote. But given you can't rely on the public to get anything right when it comes to 50-50 calls, I'm going to have to do a Shirley Ballas and assume the (self-appointed) head judge role. And it has to be Gosden.

His 25 per cent strike-rate is just short of Appleby's 28 per cent in the UK this year, but it's still excellent and look at some of those individual achievements the lads have already mentioned above; Roaring Lion from playboy to quadruple G1 winner, the unbeaten campaign of Stradivarius, the nurturing of juvenile talent like Calyx and Too Darn Hot, the magnificent late-season handling of Enable. It has to be Gosden.

JOCKEY OF THE YEAR

Ed Chamberlin - James Doyle

He produced two of the rides of the season aboard Sea Of Class in the Irish Oaks and Poet's Word in a epic King George at Ascot. Oisin Murphy pushed him close for me and both - win, lose or draw, made the effort to come on ITV to talk tactics and give viewers at home the unique insight only players at the centre of the drama can do.

Sea Of Class reels in Forever Together to win the Irish Oaks
A James Doyle masterclass - Sea Of Class wins the Irish Oaks

David Ord - Silvestre de Sousa

Not as straightforward. There's a big nod to Oisin Murphy for his breakthrough season - championed by the rides aboard Roaring Lion at Leopardstown and Ascot. Frankie Dettori has again proved himself to be the ultimate big-race jockey, James Doyle has produced two tactical masterclasses and was within three strides of a third aboard Sea Of Class in the Arc.

But I have to go with the champion jockey, a man who come wind, rain, hail or shine has delivered for punters and connections up and down the country. His big-race opportunities continue to be criminally thin on the ground but the titles are mounting up nicely.

Matt Brocklebank - Oisin Murphy

The things that stands out for me in this particularly battle is just how far Oisin Murphy has come in 2018. He came into the season still seeking a first Group One triumph and when asked about Roaring Lion's Derby prospects following his Dante Stakes romp at York, it was startlingly refreshing to hear Murphy simply state: "I wouldn't really know for sure, I've not ridden one before."

It didn't happen in the Derby of course - the horse palpably failing to stay the trip - but Murphy has played a key role in guiding the hugely talented and occasionally rambunctious colt through his stellar Classic campaign and there's no doubt Murphy now belongs at the top table in the weighing room.

Ben Linfoot - Frankie Dettori

There isn't a Flat jockey on the planet like Frankie Dettori. He sells racing with his personality, his smile, his infectious enthusiasm and his flying dismounts. The man is 47. And he remains the go-to rider in the weighing room when it comes to the big stage.

Big news stories follow him round - Stradivarius' million, Poet's Society getting Mark Johnston the record, Cracksman starring on Champions Day, Enable's awesome autumn. Dettori there, each time, the conductor.

Recency bias points to his expert ride on Expert Eye, too. Riding at a 24 per cent strike-rate in the UK this year, he remains at the very top of his game. What an incredible jockey. He's irrepressible and irreplaceable.


GET THE FULL PICTURE: Don't miss out on FREE video replays and our fantastic My Stable tracker. Log in now and become a Sporting Life Insider.

Related horse racing links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Racing

Sizing Tennessee won well on his seasonal return1

Antepost Angle: Sizing up the Trophy

Matt Brocklebank has a 33/1 selection for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in his latest antepost feature.

Check out our latest racing Nap2

Daily Nap: Fry to Sting rivals

Ben Linfoot heads to Exeter for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Wednesday while he also has selections at Ayr and Bangor.

Western Ryder (right) impresses at Cheltenham3

Warren Greatrex: Best Western?

Western Ryder is "bang on" for the Greatwood Hurdle, according to Warren Greatrex who looks ahead to Cheltenham's Open Meeting and reflects on his recent runners.

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race4

Wednesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers looks ahead to Wednesday's action with Part Exchange considered the day's best bet at Kempton's evening meeting.

Smaoineamh Alainn: Dropped 4lb after Saturday5

Weighed In: All in on Smeaoineamh

Ben Linfoot presents the second edition of 'Weighed In' featuring eyecatchers from Aintree and Wincanton, analysis on the Badger Ales Trophy and all the major BHA ratings amendments.

Most Read Racing

Sizing Tennessee won well on his seasonal return1

Antepost Angle: Sizing up the Trophy

Matt Brocklebank has a 33/1 selection for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in his latest antepost feature.

Check out our latest racing Nap2

Daily Nap: Fry to Sting rivals

Ben Linfoot heads to Exeter for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Wednesday while he also has selections at Ayr and Bangor.

Western Ryder (right) impresses at Cheltenham3

Warren Greatrex: Best Western?

Western Ryder is "bang on" for the Greatwood Hurdle, according to Warren Greatrex who looks ahead to Cheltenham's Open Meeting and reflects on his recent runners.

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race4

Wednesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers looks ahead to Wednesday's action with Part Exchange considered the day's best bet at Kempton's evening meeting.

Smaoineamh Alainn: Dropped 4lb after Saturday5

Weighed In: All in on Smeaoineamh

Ben Linfoot presents the second edition of 'Weighed In' featuring eyecatchers from Aintree and Wincanton, analysis on the Badger Ales Trophy and all the major BHA ratings amendments.

Next Race Off

18:45 Cabourg
7
(0)
Fidenza
J: M Mottier
9
(0)
Frimousse Quick
J: T Le Beller
12
(0)
Fabuleuse Jiel
J: G Gelormini
8
(0)
Fiction D'erable
J: Cl Thomain
2
(0)
Fairy Story
J: P Levesque
6
(0)
Front Line
J: Ch Chalon
11
(0)
Furie De Vauvert
J: B Le Beller
3
(0)
Fleur De Larre
J: F Lecanu
4
(0)
Fiesta Du Chatelet
J: S Le Cerf
1
(0)
Falbala Du Bourg
J: J Van Eeckhaute
5
(0)
First Lady Bleue
J: T Thieulent

Racing Tips

Check out our latest racing Nap

Daily Nap: Fry to Sting rivals

Ben Linfoot heads to Exeter for the Sporting Life Daily Nap on Wednesday while he also has selections at Ayr and Bangor.

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race

Wednesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers looks ahead to Wednesday's action with Part Exchange considered the day's best bet at Kempton's evening meeting.

Sizing Tennessee won well on his seasonal return

Antepost Angle: Sizing up the Trophy

Matt Brocklebank has a 33/1 selection for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in his latest antepost feature.