Mullins is in the running for HRI award

Mullins is in the running for HRI award

Trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins and jockeys Jack Kennedy and Ruby Walsh were  nominated in the National Hunt category for the 2016 annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards.

 In all,  26 stars of the racing industry are in the running to win an award. 

RTE sports broadcaster Des Cahill will be master of ceremonies for the awards, which will be held  at Leopardstown racecourse on Monday, December 5.

The categories

Awards will be  presented in seven categories - Horse of the Year, National Hunt racing, flat racing, point-to-point racing, outstanding achievement, contribution to the industry and racecourse of the year.

Four category winners are decided by a ballot of the Irish racing media – Horse of the Year, National Hunt, Flat and Point-to-Point.

 Nominations for the Horse of the Year award include Annie Power, winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival; Cheltenham Timico Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, who shared the title at the 2015 awards; unbeaten novice chase star Douvan; Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Found; dual Derby winner Harzand; recent Breeders’ Cup winner, Highland Reel and Investec Oaks and QIPCO 1,000 Guineas winner, Minding.

National Hunt

 Trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins and jockeys Jack Kennedy and Ruby Walsh are nominated in the National Hunt category.

The flat nominees are trainers Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld and jockeys Seamie Heffernan and Pat Smullen.

 The point-to-point category is made up of Enda Bolger, Jamie Codd, Wilson Dennison, Liz Lalor and Barry O’Neill.

The winner of the Outstanding Achievement award is voted on by the Irish racing media and the general public through the HRI website or through forms available from HRI.

The nominees in this category, selected by the Irish racing media, include trainers Adrian Keatley, John Kiely, Mouse Morris and Kevin Prendergast. 

Jockey David Mullins has also been selected along with the Moyglare Stud Stakes winning trainer/jockey combination of brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien.

Lasting impression

 The Contribution to the Industry award will be announced by HRI Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh. 

This award is HRI’s recognition of an individual or entity whose overall work and achievements have made a lasting positive impression on racing and breeding in Ireland. 

Previous winners include Des Scahill, Mick O’Toole, Jim Bolger, Moyglare Stud, Dermot Weld, Colm Murray and Michael Kinane.

 The Racecourse of the Year Award winner is chosen by the Racegoers’ Consultative Forum. 

Previous racecourse winners include Leopardstown, Dundalk and Ballinrobe.

Two winners

Tom Mullins provided Mark Walsh with two winners at Galway on Sunday. 

Both carried the colours of J.P. McManus. 

First up was Oscar Knight, who had little difficulty in winning the 2mile 2 furlong handicap hurdle at odds of 7/2 favourite. 

That’s A Wrap was returned the 11/2 winner of the second handicap hurdle over a near identical trip. 

The winning trainer sees him going over fences in the short term. 

Local trainer Pat Kelly landed the opening maiden hurdle with 9/4 shot Presenting Percy, who comfortably saw off the challenge of odds-on favourite Canelie in the hands of Sean Flanagan. 

Henry de Bromhead maintained his fine strike rate when 9/2 chance Killiney Court won the rated novice chase under Mikey Fogarty. 

Gordon Elliott and Kevin Sexton combined to land the 2 mile maiden hurdle with 11/8 favourite Potters Point, and over the same trip, John Joe Walsh’s Copy Print took the handicap hurdle for Phillip Enright.

 Impressive

The most impressive winner of the meeting was Noel Meade’s Joey Sasa, who justified considerable market support to win the bumper at odds of 2/1 for Nina Carberry. 

The seven-year-old had little difficulty in winning from the Elliott-trained favourite Champagne Classic.

Retired

The Aga Khan's dual Derby winner, Harzand has been retired to stand at Gilltown Stud, where he will join his owner's stallion roster alongside his sire Sea The Stars next year. 

Harzand became trainer Dermot Weld's and Pat Smullen’s first Epsom Derby winner when he beat US Army Ranger in June. 

He went on to complete the double in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh, holding off Idaho later in the same month. 

Ridden exclusively by Pat Smullen, he won four of his seven starts and collected in excess of €1.7 million in prize-money. 

 A statement released on the Aga Khan Studs website read: “The Aga Khan Studs are delighted to announce that Harzand will be another exciting new addition to the roster of Gilltown Stud for the 2017 breeding season. 

“Harzand joins Born To Sea and Sea The Stars at Gilltown Stud in Ireland and breeders are welcome to come and see him on appointment, notably during the Goffs Breeding Stock Sale.”

Deadline extended

The entry deadline has been extended for races with fewer than 10  entries, Horse Racing Ireland has announced. 

The measure has been introduced in a bid to improve field sizes in Ireland.

It has already come into play, with Thursday’s Holycross Mares’ Chase at Thurles benefiting from an extra runner who was declared in the extended window. 

This year HRI extended by 15 minutes the 10am declaration deadline for weight-for-age races with fewer than five declarations, and the noon entry deadline will now also be extended by 45 minutes for any race with fewer than ten original entries.

Double for Ruby

Ruby Walsh rode a winner over hurdles and fences at Wexford on Sunday. 

He came from well off the pace to win the opening maiden hurdle on 4/1 shot Aretesone, trained by his father, Ted.

He followed up when making much of the running on the Ross O’Sullivan-trained 4/7 favourite Call It Magic in the beginners’ chase. 

Gordon Elliott was another to record a double and he took the 2 mile maiden hurdle with the Keith Donoghue-ridden 12/1 chance Bull Ride and the bumper with 4/6 favourite Three Swallowsnick, who looked a fine prospect under Jamie Codd. 

Enniscorthy based John Berry was on the mark when Abbey Magic, an 8/1 chance, just held on to win the mares’ hurdle under Donagh Meyler. 

Cappagh, County Waterford trainer Declan Queally won the 3 mile handicap hurdle with 5/2 favourite Cloudy Morning, who was adding to his success at Clonmel earlier in the week. 

The winner was ridden by Barry Browne and another youngster to visit the winners’ enclosure was Andrew Ring, who partnered 11/2 chance Definite Soldier to success for Nenagh-based Pat Coffey.

Fairyhouse 

Fairyhouse Racecourse and Bar One Racing have announced increased sponsorship for Hatton’s Grace Hurdle Day at the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Sunday, December 4. 

In addition to their continued support of the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase, Bar One Racing are increasing the value of the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle from €85,000 to €100,000. 

They will also sponsor the new Grade A Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle which will have a prize fund of €100,000 and support the Grade B Porterstown Handicap Chase of €50,000.