Don Cossack among six to make shortlist for Horse of the Year award

The nominations for the 2015 annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards were announced yesterday, with 30 representatives of the industry selected for consideration across a range of categories.
Don Cossack among six to make shortlist for Horse of the Year award

Following a tremendously successful season here and in Britain, National Hunt runners dominate the Horse of the Year category, with the highest rated chaser in these islands, Don Cossack, one of four jumpers to make the shortlist of six.

Champion Hurdler Faugheen, Morgiana winner Nichols Canyon and Arkle hero Un De Sceaux all earned their place on the list, while dual 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles and Newmarket 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo represent the best of the Flat performers.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins, who is responsible for half of the Horse of the Year nominees, had a tremendous year, highlighted by eight winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

He heads the list of nominees for the National Hunt award, though fellow trainers Henry de Bromhead and Gordon Elliott and jockeys Mark Walsh and Ruby Walsh provide stern opposition.

The exploits of Legatissimo and Curvy give trainer David Wachman claims to the Flat award, for which Aidan O’Brien, Dermot Weld, champion jockey Pat Smullen and rising star Colin Keane complete a competitive category.

Don Atkinson, Enda Bolger, Jamie Codd, Donnchadh Doyle, Liz Lalor and Derek O’Connor make up the point-to-point category, while the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award is selected by the Irish racing media and the general public through a dedicated HRI awards app or through forms available from HRI.

The nominees are trainer Tony Martin, jockeys Jonathan Burke, Nina Carberry, Seamie Heffernan and Connor King and the Boylesports Irish Grand National winning trainer/jockey combination of Sandra Hughes and Katie Walsh.

Gail Carlisle, groom of the record-breaking Hurricane Fly, also has a deserved place on the shortlist.

The Contribution to the Industry Award, which recognises an individual or entity whose work and achievements have made a lasting positive impression on racing and breeding, will be announced by HRI Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh.

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

Kavanagh said: “The list of nominees for the 2015 Horse Racing Ireland Awards demonstrates the continuing strength-in-depth of Irish racing and allows us to celebrate the achievements of our jockeys, trainers, racecourses and others who have contributed so much to the reputation of the sport.”

The awards ceremony, for which Newstalk presenter and racing enthusiast Ivan Yates will be master of ceremonies, will take place at Leopardstown Racecourse on Monday December 7.

  • A National Hunt card will be held at Punchestown on Thursday December 10. The fixture replaces the cancelled Wexford meeting on November 17.

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