The winners of the 2016 Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Awards were announced at Leopardstown Racecourse on Monday 5th December, at a reception attended by many of the industry’s leading trainers, jockeys and owners.

Guest of honour was Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and guests were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Joe Keeling.

The winners at the 14th annual awards ceremony were as follows:

  • Horse of the Year Award: Minding
  • National Hunt Award: Willie Mullins
  • Flat Award: Aidan O’Brien
  • Contribution to the Industry Award: Mrs Maureen Mullins
  • Outstanding Achievement Award: Mouse Morris
  • Point-To-Point Award: Jamie Codd
  • Racecourse of the Year Award: Galway Racecourse

Minding, trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor, won five of the seven Group 1 races she contested this year. She was successful in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and the Epsom Oaks before taking the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.

The National Hunt Award went to Champion Trainer Willie Mullins, who had another fantastic season with 34 Grade 1 wins worldwide, including seven at the Cheltenham Festival. Willie also saddled six Grade 1 winners at the Punchestown Festival, won the Guinness Galway Hurdle in July and enjoyed a first Classic winner with Wicklow Brave in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien (pictured) won the Flat Award after a truly remarkable year where he enjoyed 22 Group 1 wins worldwide along with a 1-2-3 in both the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas and the Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe. Champion Trainer in Ireland once again with 117 victories, he was also Champion Trainer in Britain with 13 Group 1 victories alone.

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, presented the Contribution to the Industry Award to the matriarch of the Mullins racing dynasty, Mrs Maureen Mullins. Maureen has been part of the Irish racing landscape for the best part of six decades and was married to one of Ireland’s greatest ever trainers, the late Paddy Mullins.

Brian Kavanagh said: “It was a pleasure to present the Contribution to the Industry award to a very special lady who is a most deserving winner. From the likes of Hurry Harriet, Dawn Run, Grabel and Vintage Tipple, Maureen has witnessed the highs of racing on many occasions and is without doubt one of the most popular figures on the Irish racing scene.”

Trainer Mouse Morris won the Outstanding Achievement Award, which was decided by both the Irish racing media and racing fans. Mouse remarkably saddled the winner of both the Irish Grand National and the Aintree Grand National in the same season. Rogue Angel and Ger Fox prevailed in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, while just 12 days later, Rule The World and David Mullins won the Aintree Crabbie’s Grand National.

Jockey Jamie Codd picked up the Point-To-Point Award after winning a second national rider’s title despite suffering a serious injury on the opening day of the season. Jamie also guided Cause Of Causes to a second consecutive Cheltenham Festival win before deputising aboard On The Fringe to win the Aintree Foxhunters and he also recorded a first winner at the Galway Festival.

The Racecourse of the Year Award went to Galway Racecourse. It was selected by the Racegoers’ Consultative Forum based upon the best all-round customer experience.

Chairman of HRI, Joe Keeling commented: “The Horse Racing Ireland Awards allow us to shine the spotlight on the amazing achievements in Irish racing throughout the year. As always, the standard of nominations was extremely high and I would like to congratulate the very worthy winners and wish everyone in the Irish racing industry continued success in 2017.”

The award winners received bronze trophies, created by sculptor Siobhan Bulfin.

The Winners and Nominees for the 2016 Awards are as follows:

NATIONAL HUNT

Gordon Elliott
Jack Kennedy
Willie Mullins – WINNER
Ruby Walsh

FLAT

Seamie Heffernan
Aidan O’Brien – WINNER
Pat Smullen
Dermot Weld

POINT-TO-POINT

Enda Bolger
Jamie Codd – WINNER
Wilson Dennison
Liz Lalor
Barry O’Neill

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

Adrian Keatley
John Kiely
Mouse Morris – WINNER
David Mullins
Joseph O’Brien/Donnacha O’Brien
Kevin Prendergast

HORSE OF THE YEAR

Annie Power
Don Cossack
Douvan
Found
Harzand
Highland Reel
Minding – WINNER

CONTRIBUTION TO THE INDUSTRY

The Contribution to the Industry Award was presented to Mrs Maureen Mullins. Previous winners include Des Scahill, Mick O’Toole, Jim Bolger, Moyglare Stud, Dermot Weld, Colm Murray and Michael Kinane.

RACECOURSE OF THE YEAR
Galway Racecourse

Karen Sargeant

Karen Sargeant

Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.

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Karen Sargeant