Rewarding Outstanding Performances and Achievements
Two of Ireland’s greatest
jockeys, Johnny Murtagh and Ruby Walsh chose six nominees in this category and
it was up to racing fans to decide on the winner. The nominations
for this brand-new award were jockeys Colin Keane, Kevin Manning, Davy Russell,
Danny Sheehy, Paul Townend and winner Derek O’Connor.
Derek O’Connor is the winner of the inaugural Ride of the Year Award which was determined by a public vote. Derek’s winning ride came in Ireland’s premier steeplechase, the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival which he won on Edwulf. Derek brought the unconsidered 33/1 chance from well off the pace, timing his run to absolute perfection to get up the line to pip Outlander.
Alpha Centauri was crowned 2018 Horse Of The Year
Alpha Centauri, owned by the Niarchos family, was the deserving winner of the Horse of the Year Award.
The Four-time Group 1 winner trained by Jessica Harrington won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Coronation Stakes, the Prix Jacques Le Marois and the Falmouth Stakes before having to be retired after suffering an injury in the Matron Stakes in September at Leopardstown.
Don Cossack (Joint Winner)
Faugheen (Joint Winner)
Sea The Stars
War of Attrition
Donnacha was crowned champion jockey for the first time with
a total of 111 winners and won his first Classics in 2018 in both Ireland and
England when taking the English 2,000 Guineas on Saxon Warrior and the Dubai
Duty Free Irish Derby on Latrobe, trained by his brother Joseph. He also landed
the Epsom Oaks on Forever Together and further Group 1 successes with
two-year-olds Ten Sovereigns, Fairyland and Magna Grecia.
Aidan O' Brien
Achievement Award went to Curragh trainer Patrick Prendergast. He enjoyed a
memorable season with Skitter Scatter, which rose through the ranks to land the
Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions
Weekend. This Dundalk maiden winner went on to land the Group 3 Silver Flash
Stakes at Leopardstown and Group 2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh before her
high-profile end of season success. Cedars Of Lebanon was a three-time winner
for Patrick during the year and enjoyed a notable success when taking the Foran
Equine Irish EBF Auction Race Final at Naas in October.
Another remarkable year saw Willie Mullins maintain his grip
on the Irish National Hunt Trainers’ Championship with a record total of 212
winners. He saddled a record 18 winners at the Punchestown Festival alone
(including a remarkable six out of seven on the Wednesday) and has saddled 16
Grade 1 winners in Ireland since December 1st last year. He became
the winning-most trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival with 61 winners,
seven of which came last March, and achieved a personal milestone of 3,000
career winners when Timi Roli won at Wexford in June.
Blackmore is the winner of the National Hunt Achievement Award. She regained
her lead at the head of the jockeys’ championship at last weekend’s Fairyhouse
Winter Festival, maintaining her sensational winning form. Her success on
Patricks Park at the Dublin Racing Festival and three winners at the
Punchestown Festival kept her name in lights, as did her unprecedented treble
at Tipperary in July becoming the first female rider to complete such a feat.
In more recent times, Bedrock has been a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 winner for
Hero Award winners Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry retired as two of Irish
racing’s most celebrated amateur riders at the Punchestown Festival in April.
They both enjoyed stellar careers, becoming household names by riding winners
on the biggest stages in Ireland and Britain, as well as Australia, France and
Germany. They each graced the winners’ enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival on
multiple occasions, they won an Irish Grand National apiece and countless other
races on the Flat, in bumpers, over hurdles and over fences.
Point-to-Point Award goes to County Wexford for the second year running as Barry
O’Neill adds to his 2017 success. The
2017/18 season saw Barry defend the national riders’ title thanks to a total of
59 winners on 53 different horses with an impressive strike rate of 22%. Barry
rode four trebles at Oldcastle, Monksgrange, Loughrea and Borris House which
helped him not only retain his eastern rider’s title but also claim a first
title in the northern region. On the track, O’Neill teamed up with
point-to-point recruit Commander Of Fleet to win the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at
the Punchestown Festival.
McGoldrick, who retires this year as chief medical officer of the Irish
Horseracing Regulatory Board, was presented with the Contribution to the
Industry Award. The Newbridge-based GP has held the position since 2007 and was
universally acclaimed for his efforts in improving jockeys’ safety and has been
hailed for his research into areas including athletes’ dehydration, concussion,
nutrition and mental health. Dr McGoldrick served as racecourse doctor at the
Curragh for over 30 years.
Galway Racecourse Committee