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.
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.
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.