The nominees for the 2018 Horse Racing Ireland Awards have been announced, with 26 Irish trainers, jockeys and horses in contention for the prestigious awards which will be presented early next month.
Awards are presented in a variety of categories across the entire Irish racing industry. Seven category winners are decided by a ballot of the Irish racing media – Horse of the Year, National Hunt Award, National Hunt Achievement Award, Flat Award, Flat Achievement Award, Point-to-Point Award and Racecourse of the Year.
Members of the Racegoers Consultative Forum, the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners, the Irish Jockeys Association and the Irish Stablestaff Association will also vote on the Racecourse of the Year Award.
The four nominations for Horse of the Year are four-time Group 1 winner and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly of 2018 Alpha Centauri, three-time Cheltenham Festival winner and Aintree Grand National hero Tiger Roll, nine-time Grade 1 winner Un De Sceaux and last season’s star novice chaser and a four-time Grade 1 winner over fences, Footpad.
Trainers Willie Mullins, who was recently inducted into the Cheltenham Hall of Fame, and Gordon Elliott and jockeys Davy Russell and Patrick Mullins are nominated in the National Hunt Award category. The Flat Award nominees are trainers Aidan O’Brien, Jessica Harrington and Joseph O’Brien and jockey Donnacha O’Brien.
There are six nominees for the Flat Achievement Award: Ken Condon for his handling of Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Romanised, Patrick Prendergast, who oversaw Skitter Scatter’s rise through the ranks to land the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and be crowned the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly of 2018; Colm O’Donoghue for his handling of the mighty Alpha Centauri; Darren Bunyan for his success with Hit The Bid; David Marnane for his training of the progressive Settle For Bay, winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and Shane Crosse who only rode his first winner in April of this year and went on to become champion apprentice.
The five nominees for the National Hunt Achievement Award are: Rachael Blackmore for her performance in the National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship, Pat Kelly for his continued Cheltenham Festival success and his handling of Presenting Percy, Joseph O’Brien for his success with Edwulf in the Grade 1 Unibet Irish Gold Cup, Mark Enright for his TheTote.com Galway Plate success on Clarcam and Gavin Cromwell for his win with the veteran Raz De Maree in the Welsh Grand National.
The Point-to-Point category is made up of Liz Lalor, Barry O’Neill, Colin Bowe and Donnchadh Doyle. As short listed by the members of the Racegoers Consultative Forum, the nominations for Racecourse of the Year are Down Royal, Punchestown, Listowel and Galway Racecourse.
A new award for 2018 is Ride of the Year and the winner will be chosen by a public vote. Nominees will be announced early next week. A full run down on all the awards and the nominees can be found here.