Trainer Charles Byrnes and Jockey Chris Hayes from Limerick have been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2013 Horse Racing Ireland Awards.
Charles from Ballingarry is nominated for his handling of top hurdler Solwhit. He returned from a two-year break from the racecourse to win three of his five races in the 2012-2013 season while he finished second on his other two runs. Under a fantastic Paul Carberry ride in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham, Solwhit became the first Irish trained winner of this race since Dorans Pride in 1995. At Aintree on Grand National Day in early April he had another impressive Grade 1 success before rounding off his season by finishing runner up in the French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in early June.
Shanagolden jockey Chris Hayes celebrated the first Group One success of his career when guiding La Collina to a surprise success in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in September and then followed up eight days later with another success at the top level on the Dermot Weld-trained Voleuse De Coeurs in the Gain Irish St Leger at the Curragh. These two big race wins were part of an impressive tally of over 50 winners for Chris.
This year, for the first time, members of the public will have an opportunity to vote on the Outstanding Achievement category, through a new HRI Awards app, which will be available for download from iTunes and Google Play later this week. The App also contains information about the awards and each of the nominees, an image gallery, all the latest news and will also allow members of the public to watch the awards live.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI said: “The HRI Awards acknowledge excellence in the horse racing industry where Ireland continues to achieve enviable success in a highly-competitive international arena. We have some of the best breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys and it’s important to recognise this success. A highlight this year was achieving a record-breaking fourteen Irish-trained winners at Cheltenham and eight Irish-trained winners at Royal Ascot.