Horse Racing

Carlow and Kilkenny winners at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards last night

There were two local winners at the Irish Racing Excellence Award at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny last night.

Elaine O’Donovan the Head Girl in Eoin Griffins yard in Kilkenny won the Horse Care Award.

Adrian Taylor the Assistant Trainer at Jim Bolgers yard won the “In the saddle award”.

Brian Cody helped present the ten awards on the night.

Owen Smyth, Head Stallion Man at Kildangan Stud was announced as the Irish Racing Excellence Award winner – taking the top honour at the 2017 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Owen, who also won the Leads by Example Award, was selected by the judges for the highest accolade from among seven individual category winners, who were also revealed at the awards ceremony.

Originally from Crumlin in Dublin and a graduate of RACE (Racing Academy and Centre of Education), Owen has worked in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry since 1983. He has been employed at Kildangan Stud since 1988, having previously worked for Dermot Weld and spent a breeding season in Kentucky.

A total of ten awards, worth €80,000 were presented by Kilkenny Senior Hurling Manager, Brian Cody. Richard Forristal, Editor of the Racing Post in Ireland, acted as MC for the occasion.

The 10 winners and runners-up for the 2017 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards are:

Irish Racing Excellence Award
Owen Smyth, Head Stallion Man, Kildangan Stud, County Kildare

Administration Award
Catherine McAvinney, Practice Manager, Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital, Kildare

Tom Gallagher, Stud Office Manager, Kildangan Stud, County Kildare
Zoe Winston, Racing Secretary, Gordon Elliott, County Meath

Newcomer Award
Sarah McCrory, Head Girl, Ted Walsh, County Kildare

Mark Byrne, Marketing and Nominations, Ballylinch Stud, County Kilkenny
Patrick Murray, Stable Groom, Dermot Weld, County Kildare

Horse Care Award
Elaine O’Donovan, Head Girl, Eoin Griffin, County Kilkenny

Ashley Hussey, Stable Girl, Jessica Harrington, County Kildare
Joe Behan, Groom, Derrinstown Stud, County Kildare

In The Saddle Award
Adrian Taylor, Assistant Trainer, Jim Bolger, County Carlow

Brendan Hoare, Stud Groom, Coolmore Stud, County Tipperary
Derek McCormack, Work Rider/Assistant Head Man, Rathbride Yard, Dermot Weld, County Kildare

Travelling Head Person Award
Patrick O’Brien, Travelling Head Man, Dermot Weld, County Kildare

Camilla Sharples, Travelling Head Girl, Gordon Elliott, County Meath
Hazel Wallace, Travelling Head Person, Tracey Collins, County Kildare

Leads by Example Award
Owen Smyth, Head Stallion Man, Kildangan Stud, County Kildare

Joseph Mulholland, Head Man, Rathbride Yard, Dermot Weld, County Kildare
Robert Hennessy, Head Man, Sandra Hughes, County Kildare

Dedication to Racing and Breeding Award
Tommy Woods, Travelling Head Lad, Paul Nolan, County Wexford

Runners up:
Robert Gallagher, Head Man, Michael Halford, County Kildare
Tony Coyle, Stud Manager, Yeomanstown Lodge, County Kildare

Racing and Breeding Support Services Award
James Flanagan, Farrier for Jim Dreaper, County Meath

Racecourse Award
Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare

Among the attendees were RT Hon Sir Hugh Robertson, Chairman of the British Olympic Association and former British Minister for Sport and the Olympics, responsible for the delivery of London 2012, Joe Osborne, Managing Director of Godolphin Ireland, Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, and Bernard Caldwell, Chairman of the Irish Stablestaff Association. Jockeys Katie Walsh, Kevin Manning, Roger Loughran and recently crowned champion amateur jockey Jamie Codd also supported the event. Trainers Jim Bolger, Michael Halford, Jim Dreaper, Tracey Collins, Eoin Griffin, and Sandra Hughes were also in attendance as was Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Patrick O’Neill.

Bernard Caldwell, Chairman of the Irish Stablestaff Association, said: “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners and finalists. Stud and stable staff play a vital role in Irish racing and breeding so it’s great to see their skills and dedication rewarded. I would like to thank Godolphin for their extremely generous sponsorship, our media partners The Racing Post and Horse Racing Ireland who organised the entire event.”

Joe Osborne, Managing Director of Godolphin in Ireland, said: “Tonight’s awards again showcased the dedication and talent which make this a great industry. We know that the horse business is a people business and Godolphin is honoured to sponsor an event which gives great people deserved recognition.”