Racing: Top award for Boutin

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FRANCOIS BOUTIN'S triumphs in a time of adversity were recognised at a racing awards ceremony in London last night. The French trainer, who has been fighting a long battle against cancer, was presented with the Cartier Award of Merit.

He was honoured for his outstanding contribution to European racing as a trainer and breeder. The 56-year-old, based at Lamorlaye, near Chantilly, has been associated with numerous brilliant horses in a career spanning nearly 30 years.

He shrugged off his illness to send out plenty of big race winners in the 1993 Flat season, including Kingmambo, Hernando and Coup de Genie.

'This year his horses have won no less than eight Group One races and this at a time, when as we all know, he has been suffering from a serious illness from which he is now hopefully recovering, ' Cartier spokesman Tim Vigors said.

Lochsong clinched Cartier's horse of the year award, narrowly from Opera House. Other awards were: two-year- old colt - First Trump; two- year-old filly - Lemon Souffle; three-year-old colt - Commander In Chief; three- year-old filly - Intrepidity; older horse - Opera House; sprinter - Lochsong; stayer - Vintage Crop.