AIRO Award Winners 2022 - Caroline Norris
The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners held their Annual Awards evening in the magnificent surroundings of the recently refurbished Cashel Palace Hotel in Co. Tipperary on Friday evening.
Racehorse owners, trainers and sponsors were joined by Minister of State Martin Heydon to celebrate the successes of Irish Owners on the racetrack in 2022. AIRO Chairman David Hyland welcomed the guests and Minister Heydon spoke of Ireland’s global position in the Racing & Breeding industry and noted the investment that Owners and Government make to insure its continuance and congratulated all winners in his pre-dinner address.
The Racing Dream award went to American Grand National winner Hewick, who despite his initial price tag has taken the world by storm much to the delight of his delighted owner T J McDonald from Co Kildare. The Magic Lads Syndicate from Trim in Meath were honoured with the Syndicates/Racing club award for the exploits of Magic Chegaga in Galway during the summer. Homebred’s Kyprios and Homeless Songs were responsible for the Owner/Breeder award going to Moyglare Stud Farm’s owner Eva Maria Haefner Boucher. The new Owner Award this year went to Owners Noel and Valerie Moran’s Bective stud while the Champion owners National Hunt and flat were JP McManus and Mrs John Magnier.
The Irish sales companies were tasked with selecting their respective Sales Selection award. Goffs selected the Ger Lyons ownership combination of Sean Jones, David Spratt and Mrs Lynne Lyons as their winner while Tattersalls Ireland chose Derby Sale graduate Honeysuckle’s owner Kenneth Alexander as their sales selection.
Another new award category to be introduced this year was the overseas owner aimed to celebrate foreign owners who choose to have their horses trained in Ireland. The first winners of this award was Cheveley Park Stud following their tremendous successes with national hunt superstars like Allaho, Sir Gerhard and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard to name a few of their winners for trainers Willie Mullins and Henry deBromhead.
HRI’s Vicki McWey, who works closely with owners in the registration department was awarded the services to the industry award for her dedication and hard-work in ensuring that all Owners needs are facilitated in a good-humoured and professional manner. The sponsors award was also introduced this year so Owners can show their appreciation to sponsors who support the racing industry. Ireland largest sponsor the Irish EBF were deserved winners and John O’Connor was on hand to accept the accolade.
AIRO members were asked to select the winner of the Racecourse award and the overwhelming winners this year was Naas Racecourse. Owners noted their friendly staff, fantastic atmosphere and exceptional owners facilities, great food and viewing areas as just some of the reasons for their selection and Naas Racecourse director David Cox accepted the award on their behalf.
The final two people awards were very special, Mrs Maureen Mullins, Matriarch of Ireland finest racing dynasty was awarded the Racing Personality award while John and Susan Magnier were honoured as the first inductees into the Irish Owners Hall of Fame.
Our sponsors for the evening included Mount Falcon Estate, Darley Ireland, ITBA, Coolmore Stud, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, Goffs, Tattersalls Ireland, Connolly Red Mills, HRI Ownership Dept, Oghill House Stud, The Irish Field and Ballylinch Stud and Weatherbys Ireland. Their sponsorship was paramount to the success of the evening and we are eternally grateful for their support. AIRO would like to thank the commentator on Racing TV for their assistance in the selection process of some of the award winners. Richard Pugh was tasked with the role of master of ceremonies and was ably assisted by Jane Mangan who was on interviewing duties of award winners.
Award winners were presented with a fabulous charcoal portrait of their horses by artist Jason O’Ceannobhain while the people awards were presented with beautiful bespoke pieces by sculptor Linda Hoyle.
AIRO’s awards committee chaired by Vice-Chairman Caren Walsh with fellow directors Richie Galway, Sandra Fox and Manager Regina Byrne were responsible for putting together such a great evening of celebration.