THE WINNERS of the 2015 Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Awards were announced at Leopardstown Racecourse today, at a reception attended by many of the industry’s leading trainers, jockeys and owners. Guest of honour was Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence, Simon Coveney and guests were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Joe Keeling.
The winners at the 13th annual awards ceremony were as follows:
•Point-To-Point Award: Enda Bolger
•Horse of the Year Award: Don Cossack and Faugheen (joint)
•National Hunt Award: Willie Mullins
•Flat Award: Pat Smullen
•Contribution to Industry Award: Des Scahill
•Outstanding Achievement Award: Jonathan Burke
•Racecourse of the Year Award: Leopardstown
Bruree-based Trainer Enda Bolger picked up the Point-To-Point Award following his clean sweep of the three main hunter chases at the big Spring festivals with On The Fringe. Ridden by Nina Carberry, On The Fringe completed the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters double and went on to win the Champion Hunter Chase at the Punchestown Festival. Enda’s talents lie not just with preparing horses for the point-to-point, hunter chase and cross country disciplines which he is so often associated with, as his Gilgamboa, scooped the Grade 1 Ryanair Novices’ Chase at the Fairyhouse Irish Grand National meeting when beating The Tullow Tank.
Gordon Elliott’s stable star Don Cossack and Faugheen, trained by Willie Mullins, were the first joint winners of the Horse of the Year Award. Gigginstown House Stud, owner of Don Cossack, was represented by Eddie O’Leary, while Rich Ricci collected the award on behalf of his wife Susannah, who owns Faugheen.
The National Hunt Award went to Champion Trainer Willie Mullins, who had another hugely successful season with a record-breaking eight winners at the Cheltenham Festival, ten Grade 1 wins at the Punchestown Festival and 30 successes worldwide at the highest level.
Pat Smullen received his first Flat Award after a fine season that saw him crowned champion jockey for the eighth time with 103 winners. Pat also enjoyed considerable success on the international stage.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), presented the Contribution to Industry Award to legendary racecourse commentator Des Scahill. His iconic voice has been part of Irish racing for over three decades and he will forever be associated with Dawn Run’s epic 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup success which he so famously commentated on for RTE radio.
Cork jockey Jonathan Burke won the Outstanding Achievement Award, which was decided by a public vote through the HRI Awards App. At just 19 years of age, Jonathan enjoyed an excellent season with Grade 1 victories on Sizing John in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and Sizing Granite in the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree on Grand National day. Further big race success followed on Shanahan’s Turn in the tote.com Galway Plate at the Galway Festival in late July.
The Racecourse of the Year Award went to Leopardstown Racecourse for the second year in a row. It was selected by the Racegoers Consultative Forum based upon the best all-round customer experience. The Foxrock track also collected special category awards for Best Catering, Best Information Services and Best Entertainment. Punchestown Racecourse received their second Most Family-Friendly Award.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI commented: “The reputation of Irish racing and breeding is built on the achievements of the extraordinarily talented people in our industry. The HRI Awards allow us celebrate these trainers, jockeys and horses who give us so much to be proud of and I wish all our winners and nominees continued success in 2016.”
The list of Winners and Nominees for the 2015 Awards are as follows:
Henry de Bromhead
Willie Mullins (WINNER)
Pat Smullen (WINNER)
Jonathan Burke (WINNER)
Sandra Hughes/Katie Walsh
HORSE OF THE YEAR
Don Cossack (WINNER)
Un De Sceaux
Enda Bolger (WINNER)
CONTRIBUTION TO INDUSTRY
The Contribution to Industry Award was presented to racing commentator Des Scahill. Previous winners include Mick O’Toole, Jim Bolger, Moyglare Stud, Dermot Weld, Colm Murray and Michael Kinane.
RACECOURSE OF THE YEAR
Special Category Awards
Best Information Services – Leopardstown Racecourse
Best Racecourse Catering – Leopardstown Racecourse
Most Family Friendly Racecourse – Punchestown Racecourse
Best Race Day Entertainment – Leopardstown Racecourse