A total of 36 nominations have been made for the 2022 Horse Racing Ireland Awards which will be presented at the HRI Awards
ceremony in Dublin on December 5.
category winners will be decided by a ballot of the Irish racing media – Horse
of the Year Award, National Hunt Award, National Hunt Achievement Award, Flat Award,
Flat Achievement Award, Point-to-Point Award and the Emerging Talent
Once again, a public vote will decide the outcome of the 2022 Ride of the Year, with the contenders, chosen by Fran Berry and Davy Russell, to be announced shortly.
Emerging Talent Award Nominee
Jake Coen had just turned 16 when he rode his first winner
in August 2021. He certainly made the most of his opportunities in his first
full season riding, bagging an impressive 22 winners with the highlight being
his Premier Handicap success on Lord Dudley in the Mallow Handicap in Cork in
May. He rode two winners at the Galway festival and enjoyed a three-race
winning partnership with the Pat Murphy-trained Craft Irish.
2022 was certainly a breakthrough year for Jamie Powell. The
Kildare Town apprentice enjoyed no shortage of success, racking up 24 winners
with his haul including notable handicap success on the Johnny Feane-trained
Urban Oasis and Ano Syra in the BoyleSports Ulster Derby and Paddy Power
Rockingham Handicap respectively. He kept up the momentum when riding three
winners at the Curragh on the last Saturday in August and enjoyed his biggest
winner to date when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Northfields Handicap on
the Johnny Murtagh-trained Kerkiyra, again at the Curragh, on Longines Irish
Champions Weekend, the following month.
Sam Ewing has certainly established himself as a leading
dual-purpose jockey and he continues to enjoy success on the Flat as his career
in the National Hunt game, with no claim to help him, takes off. Sam enjoyed a
rather unique treble in early October when riding a Friday winner on the
all-weather at Dundalk before traveling to Chepstow to win a valuable handicap
chase on the Peter Fahey-trained veteran Peregrine Run the following afternoon
and then landing the Welsh Champion Hurdle on Cian Collins’ Effernock Fizz at
Ffos Las 24 hours later.
A former point-to-point champion, Michael O’Sullivan has
made a hugely successful transition to the track this year, riding winners as
an amateur and lately in the conditional ranks after turning professional in
September. Michael won the valuable Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle on the Terence
O'Brien-trained Magnor Glory at the Listowel Festival and his link with trainer
Barry Connell saw him partner Enniskerry to win the Grade 3 Ballymore Irish EBF
Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon, his first ride in a Graded race.
National Hunt Award Nominee
Henry de Bromhead again took the Cheltenham Festival by
storm in 2022 becoming the first trainer to complete back-to-back Champion
Hurdle and Gold Cup doubles since Hatton’s Grace and Cottage Rake won for Vincent
O'Brien in 1949 and 1950. Honeysuckle was the Champion Hurdle heroine while A
Plus Tard gave de Bromhead his second successive Cheltenham Gold Cup win and a
second successive 1-2 in the race when beating last year’s winner Minella Indo
by a record-breaking margin of 15 lengths. Henry’s handling of Honeysuckle saw
her stretch her unbeaten run to 14 with victories at Fairyhouse, Leopardstown
and the Punchestown festival.
Willie Mullins remains the dominant force in the National
Hunt arena and was crowned champion trainer for the 16th time at the end of the
Punchestown festival in early May. He was a six-time Grade 1 winner at the
Dublin Racing Festival, took the leading trainer award at the Cheltenham
Festival with a record 10 winners, five of them on the final day, and captured
nine of the 12 Grade 1 races at the Punchestown festival. Another major victory
was the Closutton trainer came when Tornado Flyer won the King George VI Chase
at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.
Paul Townend was crowned champion jockey for the fourth
consecutive season and for the fifth time in all as the season wrapped up in
early May. He was the leading jockey at the Dublin Racing Festival in February
where he rode five Grade 1 winners and brought that form to the Cheltenham
Festival where he was crowned leading jockey for the second time with five
winners including Energumene in the Champion Chase.
Patrick Mullins wrote himself into the record books once
again when crowned champion amateur rider for the 14th time at the end of the
2021-2022 National Hunt season meaning that he has won more jockeys’ championship
titles in modern times than any rider in either code. Patrick enjoyed great
success at the Spring festivals, completing the big Hunter Chase double at the
Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals on Billaway. He enjoyed three winners at
the Cheltenham Festival, a tally only bettered by Paul Townend.
Rachael Blackmore added to her haul of big-race success when
adding the Cheltenham Gold Cup to her brilliant CV in March. She enjoyed
another wonderful Cheltenham Festival and added to her second Champion Hurdle
victory on Honeysuckle when winning the biggest race of the week on A Plus
Tard, completing the full set of jumping’s three biggest races, the Champion
Hurdle, the Aintree Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in little more
than a year. Her Gold Cup success also saw Rachael become the first jockey
since Tony McCoy in 1997 to win the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup
in the same year. Rachael also enjoyed big wins closer to home with Honeysuckle
in the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown
National Hunt Achievement Award Nominee
His father Liam rode the Tom Dreaper-trained Kerforo to win
the Irish Grand National in 1962 and Dermot McLoughlin certainly cemented the
family name in the race’s rich history this year. He became the first trainer
to win back-to-back renewals with two different horses since Jim Dreaper’s
Colebridge in 1974 and Brown Lad the following year as the Paddy
O’Hanlon-ridden Lord Lariat landed the spoils, 12 months after Freewheelin
Dylan was successful in the Easter Monday spectacular.
Emmet Mullins has made huge strides
since taking out his trainer’s licence in 2015 and he certainly hit the big
time this year with success in the Aintree Grand National with Noble Yeats in
2022. The first seven-year-old to win the race since Bogskar in 1940, it was
also most unusual, but not unique, for a first-season novice to win the most
famous race in the world.
Shark Hanlon scored a notable hat-trick of wins with his new
stable star Hewick during the year. The TJ McDonald-owned seven-year-old had
Jordan Gainford in the saddle when landing the historic bet365 Gold Cup
Handicap Chase at Sandown in April, adding the Tote Galway Plate in July and
rounding off 2022 with a famous win in the American Grand National Hurdle
Stakes at Far Hills in October.
Villierstown, County Waterford
trainer Paddy Corkery joined an illustrious list of Grade 1 winning trainers when
Master McShee scored a battling success in the BoyleSports Faugheen Novice Chase
at last year’s Limerick Christmas Festival. Ian Power’s mount held its form for
the remainder of the season with runner-up finishes behind Galopin Des Champs
at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown and in the Boylesports Gold Cup
Novice Chase at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.
Success at the Galway festival and
Tony Martin go hand-in-hand and the County Meath trainer continued his fine
association with the Guinness Galway Hurdle in particular when winning the race
for the fourth time in nine years in July. This season’s success came with Tudor
City which was winning for the second time having also taken the honours in 2019,
becoming the first dual winner of this famous race since Pinchitter in 1982 and
Flat Award Nominee
Aidan was crowned champion trainer for the 25th time when
the season came to a close at Naas Racecourse in early November. A multiple
Group 1 winner in Britain and France during the year, his big winners on the
home front included the Kingdom Of Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes with
Luxembourg and the Comer Group International Irish St Leger with his champion
stayer Kyprios. The two-year-old Little Big Bear won the Group 1 Keeneland
Phoenix Stakes and Aidan enjoyed terrific success at the Breeders’ Cup where he
won three races over the weekend for the first time.
Colin’s season was highlighted by his Group 1 Dubai Duty
Free Irish Derby success on the Ralph Beckett-trained Westover, his first win
in the race. He enjoyed no shortage of big-race success on the likes of Camorra,
Crypto Force, Markaz Paname and Dr Zempf and he was crowned champion jockey for
the third successive year and for the fourth time in all with 92 winners as the
season closed at Naas in early November.
Billy enjoyed a terrific season and pushed Colin Keane all
the way in the jockeys’ championship. His final tally of 89 winners was easily the
best of his career and included Group 1 wins on the Paddy Twomey-trained La
Petite Coco and Pearls Galore. Rosscarbery, Rumbles Of Thunder, Treasure Trove
and Teresa Mendoza were also notable winners for the Ballingarry jockey.
Joseph O'Brien enjoyed another hugely successful year with a
first Royal Ascot success, with State Of Rest in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s
Stakes, added to his remarkable CV. The same horse had also been a top-flight
winner for O'Brien in France earlier in the season, as was Above The Curve. Al
Riffa won the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes at the Curragh on
Longines Irish Champions Weekend and was the leading contributor as, for the
first time, O'Brien’s prize money haul topped €3m in Ireland.
A first Group 1 success came Paddy Twomey’s way in 2022 and
he will certainly look back on the year with great fondness. Once again, he maintained
an enviable strike-rate and included among his winners was La Petite Coco which
brought him to a new level with her success in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly
Stakes at the Curragh in June. Pearls Galore doubled his Group 1 tally in the Coolmore
America 'Justify' Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions
Weekend and the likes of Rosscarbery, Rumbles Of Thunder and Treasure Trove
were other notable winners during a terrific season for the County
Flat Achievement Award Nominee
Training a small team of horses outside Trim, County Meath, Brian
Duffy sent out his first winner as a trainer in September of last year and
gained a most notable success as Magic Chegaga landed the Colm Quinn BMW Mile
Handicap at the Galway festival in July. Duffy had four horses in training at
the time and two of them ran on that evening’s card.
Donegal’s Dylan Browne McMonagle has certainly had another
terrific year and he easily retained his champion apprentice title with a final
tally of 49 winners. He hit the big time in 2022 with a breakthrough Group 1
success on the Joseph O'Brien-trained Al Riffa in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien
National Stakes at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions Weekend. Dylan also
scored notable success in France, winning a Group 2 on Brostaigh and a Group 3
on Tranquil Lady.
Mikey Sheehy is another that will have fond memories of the
2022 Flat season. He lost his claim with a high-profile success in the Paddy
Power Irish Cambridgeshire on Joseph O'Brien’s Federal at the end of August and
in October notched up his first Group race success when winning the Group 3 Staffordstown
Stud Stakes on Lumiere Rock, another trained by O'Brien. It was Mikey’s 100th
Nathan Crosse continues to build on the promise that he’s
shown in the past two seasons and he reached the significant milestone of
riding out his claim when successful on the Luke Comer-trained Three Comets at
Thurles in early October. Less than two weeks later, he celebrated his first
Pattern race success when winning the Listed Trigo Stakes on Willie McCreery’s
Willie Browne’s training operation might be seen as a comparative
side-line to his hugely successful role as one of the premier consignors of
two-year-olds in Europe but he still managed to bag a notable success as Spirit
Gal won the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Star Appeal Stakes at Dundalk in
late September. Spirit Gal was chased home by three subsequent winners when
landing her maiden at Naas in September and she beat Aidan O'Brien’s Cairo,
successful in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes on his next start, when recording
her big all-weather win.
To win the same race at the Galway festival for three years
running is a fair feat, but to win the race with the same horse is something
special indeed. Current Option completed a remarkable hat-trick in the Irish
Stallion Farms EBF ´Ahonoora´ Handicap for trainer Ado McGuinness, and perhaps
the achievement is all the better as the race is one of the feature events of
Horse Of The Year Award Nominee
A Plus Tard only made it to the racecourse on three
occasions but he certainly put up one of the leading performances of the season
with his runaway success for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the Boodles
Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. His 15-length winning margin in the race was the
biggest in almost 30 years and he comprehensively turned the tables on his own
stable companion Minella Indo which had relegated him to second place in the
biggest race of them all 12 months previously.
Allaho remained unbeaten in four starts last season, adding
to a couple of victories earlier in the season with breath-taking displays at
the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals. He was superb when winning
Cheltenham’s Ryanair Chase for the second successive year and was again totally
dominant from the front when landing the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup in late
April, winning both races by an impressive 14 lengths.
Honeysuckle remained unbeaten for a fourth season and once
again success in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival was the
defining moment for this remarkable mare. She won the Baroneracing.com Hatton´s
Grace Hurdle for the third time on her reappearance, took the Chanelle Pharma
Irish Champion Hurdle for a second time in the lead-up to her Cheltenham
victory. She rounded off her campaign when recording a second win in the Paddy
Power Champion Hurdle in-front of a record crowd of over 40,000 on the Friday
of the Punchestown Festival, her 16th straight win and her 11th consecutive
Grade 1 success.
Energumene’s clash with Siskin in the Grade 1 Clarence House
Chase at Ascot in January was one of the most endearing races of the season and
while Willie Mullins’ charge lost out on that occasion, he found winning form
again at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals. He gave his trainer a
first success in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in March and a little
over a month later brushed aside Chacun Pour Soi to win the William Hill
Champion Chase by a comfortable eight and a half lengths.
Lightly raced in his first two seasons, Kyprios swept all
before him as a four-year-old this year to emerge as a truly top-class stayer.
He was undefeated in six starts in 2022, including four at the highest level.
Triumphs in the Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup were followed by Classic
victory in the Irish St Leger and he rounded off a truly stunning season by
easing to a 20-length win in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp, giving
trainer Aidan O’Brien his first success in the race. This total dominance of
the staying division sees him finish the year as the highest-rated stayer in
the world, with a rating eclipsing that given to the mighty Yeats.
Sadly, an injury brough a premature end to the racing career
of the globe-trotting State Of Rest but not before he notched up a Group 1
double in 2022. Joseph O'Brien’s charge was a top-level winner in America and
Australia as three-year-old last year and returned this season to win the Group
1 Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp in early May before crediting his trainer with a
first Royal Ascot success with an all-the-way victory under Shane Crosse in the
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
Point-To-Point Award Nominee
Colin Bowe was crowned as the leading handler for a 10th
time in what was numerically his most successful season to date with 46
winners, a tally which saw him fall just one-winner shy of matching Robert
Tyner’s 2009 record of 47 victories in a single season.
Liz Lalor created history at Comea in February when she rode
Read To Return to victory, the 110th winner of her career in the pointing
fields to break Helen Bryce-Smith’s long-standing record of 109, and in the
process she became the winning-most female rider in point-to-point history,
ending the season with her career total having risen to 114 winners.
Barry O’Neill enjoyed another dominant season, one which saw
him become just the third rider in the sport’s history to pass the 700-winner
mark, as he was also crowned champion rider for the sixth year in a row. Not
only did he add to his titles hauls by also winning the northern and eastern
titles outright, but O’Neill also shared the southern title with James Hannon
on the final day of the season, all in a campaign where he was the only rider
to ride in more than 200 races in the season.
Point-to-Point Award Nominee
For the second time within the space of three seasons, David
Christie was responsible for the champion point-to-point horse as Some Man
followed in the footsteps of the 2020 champion Eddies Miracle. The Fermanagh
trainer also ended the season on a further high when recording a famous double
in Stratford with Ask D’Man winning the Champion Novice Hunter Chase and
Vaucelet won the Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunter Chase, as Christie became
the first trainer for 34 years to complete that double.
In his 23rd season of riding between the flags, James Hannon
enjoyed a personal best campaign which brought 20 victories, finishing-up sixth
on the national leader board, but also securing a first title by sharing the
southern championship with Barry O’Neill.
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