Twenty-four finalists, short-listed for eight of the 10 award categories in the 2019 Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, have been announced.
The finalists, including 12 from Kildare, were shortlisted from over 300 nominations received.
The winner in each of these categories will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and €4,000 in prize-money, with the exception of the Newcomer Award, who will receive a trip to Dubai, plus €2,500.
The other two finalists in each category will each receive €1,000.
The winner’s and finalist’s yard or stud in seven categories will also receive €1,000 to be divided amongst employees.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday October 29 in the Killashee Hotel in Naas, County Kildare.
The Racecourse Award is chosen by the Irish Stablestaff Association based on a quality programme survey with the purpose of setting quality standards for stable staff at all racecourses in Ireland.
The racecourse with the highest score will win the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Racecourse Award and will be announced at the awards.
The flagship award – The Irish Racing Excellence Award will be presented to one of the winners of the Administration, Racing and Breeding Support Services, Newcomer, Horse Care, In the Saddle, Leadership (Stud), Leadership (Stable) and Dedication to Racing and Breeding Awards who is, in the opinion of the judging panel, the most deserving of recognition for their commitment, hard work, and ongoing contribution to the high standards and reputation of the Irish thoroughbred industry. The winner of this award will receive an additional trophy and €5,000, plus €5,000 for their yard, stud or employer.
The 10 award categories carry over €80,000 prize-money.
Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor, Charities, for Godolphin, said: “Godolphin is delighted to acknowledge and celebrate the fabulous work that stud and stable staff do year in year out. The contribution of all 24 finalists has, without a doubt, helped establish the high regard Irish racing is held in globally.”
Bernard Caldwell, Irish Stablestaff Association, commented: “The calibre of those working in the racing yards, stud farms and all the support services was evident to see in the quality and volume of the nomination forms. We really appreciate all those who nominated their friends and colleagues, Godolphin for their very generous sponsorship and Horse Racing Ireland who project manage the event. We are really looking forward to the awards in Killashee Hotel on Tuesday October 29 and celebrating the hard work and achievements of all the wonderful finalists.”
Michael O’Rourke, Chairman of the judging committee said: “Over 300 nominations were reviewed by the judges and the quality of the nominations reflects the interest and enthusiasm which the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards have created.
“The level of expertise demonstrated across so many disciplines shows how Ireland has achieved such an envied position in the racing world. The finalists have come through a rigorous selection process and each can be very proud. The awards night in the Killashee Hotel will be a fitting celebration of their achievements.”
The finalists are:
Racing and Breeding Support Services Award
Willie Gibbons, Track Foreman, Leopardstown Racecourse, Co Dublin
Wayne Middleton, Strength & Conditioning Coach, RACE, Co Kildare
Perry Power, Track & Facilities Manager, Tipperary & Cork Racecourses
Dorothy Fleming, Racing Secretary, Ken Condon, Co Kildare
Marie Rowley, Racing Secretary, Pat Flynn, Co Waterford
Geraldine Ryan, Office Manager, Camas Park Stud, Co Tipperary
Tom Harney, Stable Lad & Work Rider, Ross O’Sullivan, Co Kildare
Cheryl McClean, Exercise Rider & Groom, Willie McCreery, Co Kildare
Chris McGill, Head Lad, John J Hanlon, Co Carlow
Horse Care Award
Paul Dupli, Head Lad, Martin Brassil, Co Kildare
Gerry Hanratty, Assistant Manager, Meadow Court Stud, Co Kildare
Audrey O’Neill, Exercise Rider & Groom, John Oxx, Co Kildare
In The Saddle Award
Ganna German, Work Rider & Travelling Groom, Sheila Lavery, Co Meath
Martin Molloy, Work Rider, Pat Fahy, Co Carlow
David Roche, Head Lad, Henry de Bromhead, Co Waterford
Leadership Award (Stud)
Edward Farrell, Head Man, Lisieux Stud, Co Kildare
Helder Ferreira, Assistant Head Lad, Kildangan Stud, Co Kildare
Tony O’Meara, Stallion Manager, Coolmore Stud, Co Tipperary
Leadership Award (Stable)
Niall Amond, Travelling Head Lad, Jessica Harrington, Co Kildare
Damien Byrne, Yard Manager & Travelling Head Lad, Joseph O’Brien, Co Kilkenny
Emma Connolly, Travelling Head Lass & Assistant Trainer, Noel Meade, Co Meath
Dedication to Racing and Breeding Award
Paddy Duffy, Assistant Trainer, Shane Duffy, Co Laois
Robert Gallagher, Head Lad, Michael Halford, Co Kildare
Eamonn Leigh, Assistant Trainer, Jessica Harrington, Co Kildare.
Godolphin, the global thoroughbred breeding and horseracing team founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards in association with The Irish Stablestaff Association, The Racing Post and Horse Racing Ireland. Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Britain, France, Australia and the USA.
The Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Judging Committee are made up of representatives of the Irish Stablestaff Association, Horse Racing Ireland, the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, the Irish Racehorse Trainers’ Association and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.
Pat Farrell, winner of the Irish Racing Excellence Award at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards in 2018 also joined 2017 winner Owen Smyth, 2016 winner Jimmy (Slim) O’Neill and 2015 winner Pat O’Donovan on the judging panel.
Each award winner will be presented with a specially-commissioned trophy.
The trophies, by sculptor Ani Mollereau, are a contemporary design of a thoroughbred horse representing the spirit of the horse racing industry.