Cork Natives Townend and Motherway nominated for HRI Awards

The nominees for the 2010 Horse Racing Ireland Awards were announced today, Monday 8th November. This is the eight year of the Horse Racing Ireland Awards, and the winners will as always be decided by the votes of the Irish Racing Media. The Awards recognise the human and equine excellence in the sport of horse racing where Ireland continues to achieve great success in the elite international arena.

Paul Townend – from Midleton, Co.Cork nominated for Outstanding Achievement

Nominees:- Gordon Elliot, Jessica Harrington, Eddie Lynam, Andrew Lynch, Paul Townend & Katie Walsh

Having rode his first hurdle winner just over two years ago, it is sometimes hard to believe how far young Paul has come in a short space of time but once again he showed what an outstanding young talent he is with no fewer than four Grade One victories at the Punchestown Festival in April. Deputising for the injured Ruby Walsh, Paul was particularly brilliant in getting Hurricane Fly up in the dying strides to win the Rabobank Champion Hurdle while he was coolness personified on Quevega in taking the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle on her first attempt at three miles. His association with Golden Silver also brought a number of big race victories including the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown in December, the Dan Moore Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse and the Boylesports Champion Chase at Punchestown.

James Motherway from Cloyne, Co.Cork nominated for the Point to Point Award

Nominees:- Colin Bowe , James Motherway, Derek O’Connor & Barry O’Neill

James Motherway took Bluesea Cracker from winning a four year old mares maiden at Boulta in 2006 to becoming the only the third mare of our generation to win the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. James rode 21 winners in points and is based in Cloyne in Co Cork. His relationship with the Irish National stretches back to his grandfather Jimmy who lead up the winner of the 1939 renewal in Shaun Peel for trainer Charlie Creed. James however went somewhat further in training the winner of the illustrious Easter showpiece for the Note The Link syndicate who have amassed over 200,000 in prize money courtesy of Motherways handling of the daughter of Buster King.

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said:

“Irish horses, trainers and jockeys once again achieved tremendous results in 2010, triumphing in many of the major races on both the domestic and international fronts, thereby re-enforcing Ireland’s pre-eminent position in the thoroughbred racing and breeding world. We look forward to honouring the winners of the 2010 Horse Racing Ireland Awards, which will be announced at a reception to be held in the Leopardstown Pavilion on Monday 13th December.”

It was another fine year for Irish racing with seven Irish trained winners at the Cheltenham Festival in March highlighted by the success of the Colm Murphy trained Big Zeb in the featured Queen Mother Champion Chase, while Charles Byrnes’ Weapons Amnesty scored at the meeting for the second year in succession when taking the RSA Novice Steeplechase in clear-cut fashion. Another horse to win at successive Cheltenham Festivals was Willie Mullins’ Quevega who landed the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle under Ruby Walsh while Katie Walsh and Andrew Lynch both rode two winners apiece. Katie defeated her main rival, Nina Carberry, to win the National Hunt Chase on the Ferdy Murphy trained Poker De Sivola while the following day she partnered Thousand Stars, trained by Willie Mullins, to a memorable success in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle. Andrew Lynch’s two wins came aboard the Henry de Bromhead trained Sizing Europe who proved a fluent winner of the Arkle Trophy on the opening day while he completed his brace on Paul Gilligan’s Berties Dream in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle on the Friday.

At home, trainer Willie Mullins dominated the National Hunt scene and was crowned Champion Trainer for the third consecutive year. However, it was his remarkable achievement of saddling no less than twelve winners at the Punchestown Festival in late April that proved to be the highlight of the season as this was the second consecutive year that he managed to complete this feat. Among his dozen winners were Grade One successes for Blackstairmountain, Golden Silver, Kempes, Quevega and Hurricane Fly as the hugely talented Paul Townend showed he was fully capable of deputising for the injured Ruby Walsh over the five day meeting. Ruby rounded off the season with a broken arm he sustained at Aintree in early April but another excellent season brought him a sixth consecutive Irish Champion Jockeys’ Title (his eighth in all) with his fourth successive win on the imperious Kauto Star in the King George VI Steeplechase at Kempton proving to be the highlight.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was once again the dominant force in Irish Racing in 2010 with several big race victories. Cape Blanco gave him a fifth straight success in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (and his eighth in all) when leading home a 1-2-3 for the stable, while the same horse then completed an impressive all-the-way win in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Other Grade One triumphs came courtesy of Lillie Langtry in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, while Starspangledbanner completed a notable double in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the July Cup at Newmarket. Fame And Glory took both the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and the Coronation Cup at Epsom, Rip Van Winkle notched up another big race success in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York and the juveniles Zoffany, Misty For Me and Roderic O’Connor also chipped in with Grade One wins in a year where the champion trainer saddled over 100 domestic winners for the first time since 1999.

Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen can also look back on the year with great satisfaction as Rite Of Passage took the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup after a thrilling battle with Irish compatriot Age Of Aquarius, while Bethrah won the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas and Chinese White took the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes, both Group 1 races at the Curragh. Trainers Michael Halford and Jessica Harrington both claimed Group 1 glory for the first time with their juveniles Casamento and Pathfork as they took the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and the Boylesports National Stakes at the Curragh respectively, while trainer Edward Lynam also saddled his first Group 1 winner as a trainer when Sole Power, ridden by Wayne Lordan, pulled off a shock 100/1 success in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

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