The Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) was established through the Horse and Greyhound Act 2001. Under the terms of the Horse Racing Ireland Act 2016, the Board of HRI consists of a Chairman and 13 ordinary members, representing key sectors of the Irish racing and breeding industry.

  • Nicky Hartery

    Nicky Hartery was appointed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. to serve as Chairman of the Board of Horse Racing Ireland in May of 2018. 

    Nicky has a lifelong interest in horses and is the owner of Caherass Stud in County Limerick. He is the Chairman of Cement Roadstone Ireland (CRH). Nicky is also the Chairman of the Musgrave Group, the Irish food wholesaler and the current President and CEO of Prodigium, a consultancy and business advisory firm. In the past Nicky has held senior management positions with a number of international companies including Dell Computers, Eastman Kodak, EMEA, Verbatim Corporation and General Electric.

    Meta Osborne

    Meta Osborne has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since December 2013, representing the Irish Turf Club and the IHRB. She has been Senior Steward of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board since the end of 2015. Meta is an equine vet with a focus on equine reproduction. With her husband, Dermot Cantillon, she co-owns Tinnakill House, a commercial stud-farm in Co. Laois which has produced three Group 1 winners.

    Meta graduated from UCD with a degree in veterinary medicine and is a Past-President of the Irish Veterinary Association and Past-President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland. She is a Trustee of the Irish Veterinary Benevolent Fund and a member of the External Advisory Board of the School of Veterinary Medicine, UCD. She is also a member of the Veterinary Committee of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

    Meta also serves on the Irish Equine Centre Committee, Audit Committee, Fixtures Committee and Programmes committee of Horse Racing Ireland.

  • Bernard Caldwell

    Bernard Caldwell has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since December 2008, representing persons employed directly in the industry. Bernard has been Chairman of the Irish Stablestaff Association since 2007.

    Bernard serves on a number of HRI committees - the Audit Committee, the Foal Levy Committee, the Bookmakers Committee and is also on the Board of the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE).

    An elected member of Kildare County Council, Bernard is highly active in his local community and has received a Civic Award for contribution to the community. Bernard also serves on the Board of Leixlip and District Credit Union and he is Director of Leixlip Festival.

    Carol Nolan

    Carol Nolan is Chair of the HRI Industry Services Committee which was established to representing the interests of those employed in the industry.  This Committee includes nominees from SIPTU, Mandate, Irish Jockeys Association, Irish Stable Staff Association and Horse Racing Ireland representing persons employed in the horseracing industry, stable staff and jockeys and qualified riders.  Carol is HRI’s Director of People & Industry Education and oversees the activities carried out by HRI in relation to the support and development of education and training opportunities at every level of the industry.

    Laurence McFerran

    Laurence McFerran is a member of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. A retired HR/IR Executive, he was elected to the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee in 2010 followed by election to the Turf Club in 2013.   He is well known in racing circles and currently he is Chairman of the Stewards at Down Royal and Joint Chairman of the Curragh Racecourse Stewards.   He serves on the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and was Chairman of the Finance Committee.

  • Christy Grassick

    Christy Grassick represents the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland.  Christy has spent a lifetime in the industry having worked at Coolmore since 1976.  Christy is current Chairman of the ITBA and is also on the boards of the Irish Equine Centre and RJ Goff.

    Michael Halford

    Michael Halford has served on the Board of Horse Racing (HRI) Ireland since May 2016, representing Irish Racehorse Trainers. Michael is a leading Irish Flat trainer, based at Copper Beech Stables close to Kildangan, County Kildare. 

    Michael was elected to the committee of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association (IRTA) in 2002 and has held the position of Vice-Chairman since 2008. Michael has recently been appointed to the Committee of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) and the HRI Programmes Committee. 

    He also served on the ITM committee from February 2005 to December 2007 and was previously a member of the HRI Flat Programmes Working Group. As a representative of the IRTA, Michael was part of the HRI Anti-Doping Task Force for the duration of the project in 2015/16. 

    Michael has held a trainers licence since 1983 and has had notable success as a trainer on the Curragh. He gained his first Group 1 success with Casamento in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2010 and received the Horse Racing Ireland Flat Award that year. He was previously a very capable amateur rider and rode approximately 50 winners.

    Conor O'Neill

    Conor O’Neill has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since January 2019, representing the racecourses. Conor was Manager of Limerick Racecourse from 2014 up to 2017. He then moved to Punchestown Racecourse to take the position of Commercial Manager and stayed in that role for two years before becoming CEO of Punchestown racecourse in June 2018.


    Conor is also the Chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses. 

  • Caren Walsh

    Caren Walsh has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since October 2019, representing the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners (AIRO). She joined the AIRO in 2003 and has been an AIRO Council Member since 2013.  Caren also serves on the Programmes and Fixtures Committee of Horse Racing Ireland and HRI’s Welfare Council.

    Before moving to Ireland, Caren was the Catering & Hospitality Manager at Salisbury Racecourse in the UK. She also worked at Wincanton Racecourse on race days. Caren has horses in training in both Ireland and the UK.

    John Powell

    John Powell has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since May 2016, representing the I.N.H.S. Committee until December 2017 and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board from then on. John was a senior Steward of the INHS Committee from December 2014 to December 2016. John is a Veterinary Surgeon by profession, having worked both in private practice and with the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine.


    A former President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland, the Veterinary Officers Association and the Irish Veterinary Association, John was awarded an honorary fellowship with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London in 1993.


    John also served as a steward of the INHS Committee from 1999 to 2002 and was originally appointed to that committee in 1994. He is currently a member of the Appeals body of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

  • Robert Nixon

    Robert Nixon has served on the Board of Horse Racing Ireland since August 2016, representing the Industry in Northern Ireland. A graduate of The University of Leeds, he has been a livestock farmer in County Down and is the retired proprietor of a floor coverings manufacturing business.  

    Robert has had a long association with racing, both as a keen racegoer and an owner of point-to-point and National Hunt horses.  He is a Director of Downpatrick Racecourse with particular interest in the financial aspects of the company.

    Elizabeth Headon

    Elizabeth Headon was appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to the Board of Horse Racing Ireland in November 2016. Elizabeth is currently a non-executive director of Kenmare Resources plc and Gibney Communications Ltd.  She works as a corporate affairs adviser with the Alliance for Racing and Breeding and Coolmore Stud, among others. 

    Elizabeth was previously a Director of public relations firm Murray Consultants Ltd, Chief Executive of Digicel Foundation Haiti and held the position of Corporate Communications Manager at Bord Bia. 

    Elizabeth qualified with an MBA from University College Dublin and has a BA in English and French and an MA in English from NUI Galway. She is a member of the Institute of Directors. 

    Peter Nolan

    Peter Nolan was appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to the Board of Horse Racing Ireland in November 2016. Peter is an experienced company director whose board experience includes insurance, funds, treasury, aircraft leasing, property and international business tourism. He is a trusted advisor and finance specialist with extensive international experience in governance, strategy, finance and risk management. His executive experience includes senior treasury roles in banking with Rabobank International and in industry with Kerry Group plc. 

    From 2012 to 2015, Peter was a non-executive director of the CCD, Ireland's world class purpose-built international conference and event venue. He is a non-executive director of Quinn Insurance Ltd. (Under Administration), to which he was appointed in 2010 after the Company entered Administration. He is a non-executive director of The Educena Foundation, a charity which enables trusteeship of Catholic post-primary education in Ireland. 

    A business graduate of UCC, Peter is a Fellow of ACT, a Fellow of CIMA and holds the Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction.

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