(writing Rivers of Gold was a bit like chasing a Unicorn through a mystical forest – I simply had no idea where it would lead me. Unlike writing Northern Dancer, or Dark Horse, or any of my other books, there was no roadmap. The experience was simultaneously exasperating and enlightening)
“…During the exploration into the elements leading to Rivers of Gold, I thought I’d take a look at the 2014 Cartier Awards, European racing’s equivalent of the Oscars. Initiated in 1991, voting is an interesting mix of mathematics (40% from points earned in pattern races), opinions of journalists (30%), and fans (30%).
Inspired by Treve and The Fuge, I had begun posting some of the outstanding Northern Dancer/Nearctic descendants on my Northern Dancer: legend and legacy facebook page.
As I pondered each Cartier Award category, I began to realize that choosing winners in 2014 would have been particularly daunting as voters were faced with a spectacular group of horses.
Contenders for Horse of the Year included Treve, sensational in her consecutive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victories, and Australia, with both English and Irish Derbies under his girth. Ultimately the crown went to Kingman and his dynamic season of 7 victories in 8 starts over English, Irish and French courses…
Champion Sprinter, Sole Power, raced 42 times in 5 countries over a span of 6 years. On the subject of Sole Power’s bravery and speed, jockey Richard Hughes, enthused, “when I was 14 or 15, I dreamed of riding a horse like this!”
When Champion Three Year Old Filly, Taghrooda, won the 10 furlong Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, the Racing Post described her performance as “breathtaking.” The adjective also sums Taghrooda’s physical appearance. Stunningly beautiful, she was also rated as the top filly in the world in 1914.
Taghrooda and Kingman and Sole Power and all the other exceptional champions share much in common. To a horse they are brimming with courage, beauty, stamina, character and acceleration. For purposes of this tale, however, every one of them will find their ancestors in Canada’s Rivers of Gold…” to be continued