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O'Neill and O'Connor honoured at HRI Awards

O'Neill and O'Connor honoured at HRI Awards

The Point-to-Point Award returned to County Wexford for the third year running as Barry O’Neill added to his 2017 success when he was one of two point-to-point riders honoured at the Horse Racing Ireland Awards in Dublin on Tuesday evening.

The 2017/18 season saw Barry defend the national riders’ title thanks to a total of 59 winners on 53 different horses with an impressive strike rate of 22%.

Barry (pictured receiving his award from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD) rode four trebles at Oldcastle, Monksgrange, Loughrea and Borris House which helped him not only retain his eastern rider’s title but also claim a first title in the northern region.

On the track, O’Neill teamed up with point-to-point recruit Commander Of Fleet to win the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival.

Derek O’Connor was also among the winners as he was honoured with the inaugural Ride of the Year Award which was determined by a public vote.

Derek’s winning ride came in Ireland’s premier steeplechase, the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival which he won on Edwulf.

Derek brought the unconsidered 33/1 chance from well off the pace, timing his run to absolute perfection to get up the line to pip Outlander.

The winners in ten categories, including four new awards, were announced at a ceremony which was attended by many of the industry’s leading figures. Guest of honour was Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and guests were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Nicky Hartery.

The winners of the 16th annual awards were as follows:

Point-To-Point Award: Barry O’Neill
Ride of the Year Award: Derek O’Connor
Irish Racing Hero Award: Katie Walsh & Nina Carberry
Contribution to the Industry Award: Dr Adrian McGoldrick
Horse of the Year Award: Alpha Centauri
National Hunt Award: Willie Mullins
Flat Award: Donnacha O'Brien
National Hunt Achievement Award: Rachael Blackmore
Flat Achievement Award: Patrick Prendergast
Racecourse of the Year Award: Punchestown Racecourse

Horse Racing Ireland Chairman, Nicky Hartery, commented: “We have people and horses in Ireland who have achieved some truly brilliant things in 2018 and it is fitting that we honour them tonight.

“I would like to congratulate all our winners and nominees and wish everyone in the Irish racing industry continued success as we head towards the New Year.”

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