For the first time in three years, racegoers were on hand as
presentations to the six National Hunt champions were made by Horse Racing
Ireland chairman Nicky Hartery on the final day of the 2021/2022 season at
Punchestown this afternoon.
Five of the winners retained their crowns with Jack Foley on
the podium for the first time as he took the Champion Conditional title.
The champions for the 2021/2022 National Hunt season are:
Champion Owner: JP McManus
Champion Trainer: Willie Mullins
Champion Jockey: Paul Townend
Champion Conditional: Jack Foley
Champion Amateur: Patrick Mullins
Champion Lady Amateur Rider: Jody Townend
JP McManus is the Champion Owner for the second successive
season and for the 19th time in all. He again saw off a strong challenge from
Gigginstown House Stud with major success coming from this week’s Grade 1
winner Capodanno and the likes of Darasso, Fakir D'oudairies, Thedevilscoachman
and Gentleman De Mee. Major handicap success came his way with School Boy Hours,
A Wave Of The Sea and Birchdale while Shady Operator, The Big Lense and Spades
Are Trumps were other notable winners in the famous green and gold hoops.
For the 16th time, Willie Mullins is Ireland’s Champion
Trainer. His most significant winners on home soil were the two-time Grade 1
scorers Allaho, Klassical Dream, Blue Lord, Galopin Des Champs and Sharjah. Energumene
was a most notable Punchestown festival this week while Mullins enjoyed a big
Galway festival double with Royal Rendezvous and Saldier winning The Tote Galway
Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle respectively.
Paul Townend is Champion Jockey for the fourth consecutive
season and for the fifth time in his brilliant career. The Corkman missed the
first two months of the term through injury but then won the Grade 3 Kevin
McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle on the Norman Lee-trained Sole Pretender on his
first day back and another notable early season winner was Royal Rendezvous in
the Tote Galway Plate. Klassical Dream, Blue Lord and Galopin Des Champs were
dual Grade 1 winners for Paul with Allaho, Energumene, The Nice Guy, Ferny
Hollow, Vauban, Chacun Pour Soi, Sir Gerhard and Brandy Love also winning in
the top tier.
Each Leading Lady Rider since 1974 has been presented with
the Mary Hyde Perpetual Cup and for the second time, the lady’s champion is
Jody Townend. She rode winners for eight different trainers, including her
father Tim, during the season and her most notable wins came on Impulsive
Dancer in the Listed Kevin McManus Bookmaker INH Flat Race at Limerick and on Icare
Desbois in the Tattersalls Ireland Sales Bumper at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday.
From Ballyloughan, Bagenalstown, County Carlow, Jack Foley is
the Champion Conditional Jockey. The 2021/2022 season was Jack’s first full
season riding and his tally of 44 winners* is just one shy of Darragh
O'Keeffe’s record winning score in the shortened 2019/2020 season. Jack rode
three winners at the Listowel festival, highlighted by his success on Run for
Oscar, he rode a double on the final day of the Limerick Christmas festival and
reached the frame on his first ride at the Cheltenham Festival when third on
the Jessica Harrington-trained Ashdale Bob in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle.
Patrick Mullins became the first jockey since Jonjo O’Neill
in 1983 to win the Guinness Galway Hurdle three times and his success on
Saldier was just one of the highlights in a season that sees him crowned Champion
Amateur rider for the 14th time. Patrick’s season also feature two Grade 1 wins
on Sharjah and success at the same level came on Allaho in the John Durkan
Memorial Punchestown Chase. Facile Vega completed a festival hat-trick when
adding this week’s Grade 1 Race & Stay At Punchestown INH Flat Race to
earlier wins at the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham Festival.
Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive, Suzanne Eade, said: “This
is the first time since May 2019 that we have been able to crown our National
Hunt champions before a raceday crowd and my congratulations go to JP, Willie,
Paul, Jody, Jack, Patrick and the many thousands across the country who have
worked to make the season the success that it was.
“The wonderful achievements of so many within our industry
show Irish racing in the best possible light and high-profile wins on the
biggest of the world’s racing stages are reflected in the terrific crowds that
we have seen here this week and at Fairyhouse over Easter. It augurs well for
the summer ahead and I wish all involved the very best of luck as the new
jumps’ season begins at Down Royal on Monday.”
*Total no. of wins
for Jack Foley at time of going to press.