2018 Top 5 Flat Moments 2018

2018 was another Flat season to remember as many of the stars of the sport continued to shine brightest. Records have been broken, champions have come to the fore and underdogs have had their moment of glory.

We’ve compiled a Top 5 so we can all indulge some pre-Christmas nostalgia and whet the appetite for what promises to be another exciting season of racing on the Flat!

  1. Cracksman Cements His Legacy

Our most impressive performance of the year came in this year’s edition of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot. Following an inconsistent season in which many pundits were quick to assess that the brilliant horse and had lost his focus. He returned to Ascot, the scene of a memorable victory a year early with the hope of restoring his name back to racing’s elite.

Trainer John Gosden had already announced that the QIPCO Champions Stakes would be the four-year-old’s final start, so there was a sense of a final hurrah in the air as the race approached.

Dettori manoeuvred Cracksman into a promising position and his charge duly powered home on the straight, leaving his rivals in his wake and stamping his authority once again on Britain’s richest raceday.

  1. The Lion Roars At York

The Juddmonte International at York is often cited as the highest quality race of the season and this year’s renewal was to be no different. The winner? The Cartier horse of the year and champion three-year-old Roaring Lion.

John Gosden’s playful cub had well and truly evolved himself into a fierce hunter as he took down a competitive field in the Ebor Festival’s premier event.

  1. Mark Johnston The History Maker

2018 will go down as the year Mark Johnston became Britain’s winning-most trainer with his 4,194th winner. Surpassing Richard Hannon Sr previous tally as Frankie Dettori rode handicapper Poet’s Society to victory at York.

A truly extraordinary career achievement for a man who started out with no family connection to horse racing and bought his first stable through a combination of an endowment mortgage and £5,000 in cash from his in-laws.

  1. Lighting Spear Breaks His Duck

Lightning Spear – Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. The old war horse of Qatar Racing finally got his hoofs on an elusive Group 1 prize as he prevailed in the Qatar Sussex Stakes – his 16th attempt at Group 1 glory.

Having been beaten on the line in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury earlier this season, it appeared that Lightning Spear’s best chance of success at this level might have come and gone yet again. However, it all fell into place for him and star jockey Oisin Murphy on the Sussex Downs as, after travelling strongly in behind the leaders, he burst through a gap inside the final furlong to win by 1½ lengths.

  1. Super Strad

Very few horses dominate a division like Stradivarius has this year. John Gosden’s mercurial stayer winning five races out of five in 2019

Undoubtedly though his most impressive victory came in the prestigious 2 mile 4 furlong Ascot Gold Cup. For Frankie Dettori, a master of his craft, it marked his 5th win in Ascot’s premier staying race and his 60th Royal Ascot ­winner in total. However, amazingly the race marked a first Ascot Gold Cup success for Champion trainer John Gosden.

Through the race Dettori travelled well, sitting just off the leaders before laying down his challenge as they turned for home. French rival Varizabad briefly drew level, but he could not go past Stradivarius who won, drawing away in the final few strides.


Sign up to Great British Racing for our email updates and you will receive a range of benefits, including exclusive offers, competitions and behind-the-scenes updates.