Rewarding Outstanding Performances and Achievements
The Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Awards were created in 2003 as a celebration
of Irish racing. Awards are presented in seven categories: Flat Racing,
National Hunt Racing, Point-to-Point Racing, Horse of the Year, Contribution to
Industry, Outstanding Achievement and Racecourse of the Year.
The HRI Awards acknowledge excellence in the horse racing industry where
Ireland has an enviable array of talent. Every year, the country's best
breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, media and industry people are recognised
for their success.
Most of the award winners are decided by ballot of the Irish Racing Media.
The Racecourse of the Year Award is decided by the Racegoers' Consultative
Forum, the Irish racing media and members of the public vote on the Outstanding
Achievement Category, through the HRI Awards App and the Contribution to
Industry Award is announced on the day.
Previous winners are listed below.
Sizing John, owned by the late Ann and Alan Potts, was the deserving winner of the Horse of the Year Award. He became the first horse to win three Gold Cups in one season with an unforgettable triumph in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, coming in between victories in the Stan James Irish Gold Cup in Leopardstown and a thrilling victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Don Cossack (Joint Winner)
Faugheen (Joint Winner)
Sea The Stars
War of Attrition
Colin Keane was the winner of the Flat Award. Having finished runner-up in the last two Irish Flat Jockeys’ Championships, the 23-year-old Meathman went one better in 2017 clinching a memorable first title with 100 winners, winning by 12. His boss Ger Lyons supplied Colin with 67 winners during the year with Psychedelic Funk’s victory in the Concorde Stakes at Tipperary and Treasuring’s triumph in the Curragh Stakes two main highlights. Colin also teamed up with the English-trained Realtra to win both the EBF Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse and the Fairy Bridge Stakes at Tipperary while a memorable year was wrapped up as he recorded his first Group 1 success on the Tony Martin-trained Laganore in the Premio Lydia Tesio in Italy.
Aidan O' Brien
The National Hunt Award went to Jessica Harrington who enjoyed a terrific season with the highlight undoubtedly the brilliant Sizing John which gave her a first success in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. He also won the Stan James Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and the Punchestown Gold Cup becoming the first horse to win all three races in the same year. Also at the highest level, Our Duke took the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas and landed the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. Jessica became the leading female trainer at the Cheltenham Festival when bringing her tally to 11 winners with the victories of Supasundae and Rock The World.
It was no surprise to see the Outstanding Achievement Award go to Joseph O'Brien who’s short training career has been nothing short of remarkable. He reached new heights when becoming the youngest trainer at the age of 24 to win one of the world’s most famous races, the Emirates Melbourne Cup with Rekindling. Closer to home, another big race successes for Joseph in a memorable first full calendar year with a licence came courtesy of Tigris River in the Guinness Galway Hurdle while Rekindling also won the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and the Curragh Cup. Joseph also has the distinction of saddling well over 100 winners since January 1.
Niall 'Slippers' Madden
The Point-To-Point Award stays in County Wexford and went to Barry O’Neill for the first time. This season, Barry broke the 13-year stranglehold on the championship set by Derek O’Connor and 2016 HRI award winner Jamie Codd. Barry went to the top of the leading riders’ table at Tinahely in October 2016 and maintained his advantage for the remainder of the season. He had been runner-up in the title and finished third on three previous occasions. The former dual novice champion had 295 rides which resulted in 66 winners.
Aidan O' Brien has been a leading force in the industry for over 25 years. Irish Champion Flat trainer in terms of prizemoney won in every season since 1999, Aidan broke all manner of records in National Hunt in his early years and he continues to do so on the Flat to this very day. He became the first trainer to win the Epsom Derby in three consecutive years when Australia won in 2014, following on from Ruler Of The World and Camelot. In October 2016, he recorded a magnificent 1-2-3 in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly when the Ryan Moore-ridden Found led home Highland Reel and Order Of St George. Aidan enjoyed his 300th Group 1/Grade 1 winner (Flat and National Hunt combined) when Highland Reel took the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and he would go on to set a new world record for the number of Group/Grade 1 wins in a calendar year, with a grand tally of 27 winners. Aidan was crowned champion trainer in Britain for the sixth time this year.
Galway Racecourse Committee