Valerie Keatley, Head Girl for trainer Johnny Murtagh was announced as the Irish Racing Excellence Award winner at the 2021 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards today.
Valerie, who also won the Leadership Award for Stable Employees and was among eight individual category winners, was selected by the judging committee for the highest accolade.
Valerie joined Johnny Murtagh’s not long after he set up his training business and Johnny credits her contribution as one of the reasons why the yard has performed consistently on an upward curve over the last number of years.
Other Award Winners included:
Helen O’Sullivan Career Coach at the Irish Jockeys’ Trust in County Kildare won the Racing & Breeding Support Services Award.
Anne O’Connor, Racing Secretary for Michael Halford won the Administration Award
The Newcomer Award went to Keith Lynam, Stud Groom at Ringfort Stud in County Offaly.
The Horse Care Award went to Emmett Raher, Head Lad for Henry de Bromhead in County Waterford.
The In The Saddle Award, one of the most competitive awards, went to David Glennon, Stable Lad for Dermot Weld on the Curragh.
Caroline Hannon, Manager at Newtown Stud in Naas, County Kildare won the Leadership Award for stud employees.
The Dedication to Racing Award winner was Ger Brabston, Horsebox Driver for Derrinstown Stud in Maynooth, County Kildare.
The Irish Stablestaff Association chose Tramore Racecourse for the Racecourse Award
A Special Recognition Award was presented to Dr Jennifer Pugh, Senior Medical officer with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to acknowledge the extraordinary support she and her team provided to the Irish stud and stable staff during both the suspension of racing and since its resumption under restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
AIRO are delighted to confirm, from Monday 21st of June, 4 owners per horse will be permitted to attend a race meeting when their horse runs.
All race day attendees should follow government and HSE guidelines.
Owners need to pre- register on the IHRB screening website and apply for race day access each time they have a runner. All registration details can be found on www.racehorseownership.ie/bcd
An EGM of AIRO Racing CLG took place last night via Zoom Webinar at the ITBA HQ to count all votes on a special resolution that was circulated to members by notice dated 10th May, 2021.
The board are delighted to confirm that the special resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority vote of 91% in favour of the resolution and the constitution of AIRO Racing CLG is hereby approved and ratified.
We would like to thank all members for their involvement in this process.
AIRO were delighted with the announcement last Friday that Owners were given the green light to return racing. It was just rewards for owners who have been steadfast in their support of Irish racing and the tireless efforts of our HRI Rep Caren Walsh and the office at AIRO who fought hard on your behalf.
We were given a list of HRI protocols and will outline below the various steps to make your return to the racetrack as seamless as possible. Owners must register on the IHRB screening website and apply for race day access each time they have a runner. Please note if you registered with the IHRB to attend a race meeting in 2020 your registration will still be valid.
All owners must register with IHRB to gain admission:
First Time Registration
• If you have a smart phone, download the IHRB Health Screening app – IHRB Racecourse Access Pass – and hit Register button. If you do not have a smart phone the screening can also carried out through their website www.medical-ihrb.com.
• You will be required to provide contact details, upload a passport type photograph, and complete a short medical questionnaire. Please note each attendee (e.g. fellow owner, syndicate member, wife, husband etc.) must complete the online health screening and use their own mobile number and email address, the same number or email address cannot be registered twice.
• Once registration has been completed successfully a message saying your application is in review will appear. You do not need to do anything else at this stage, your barcode for racing will be sent to the App and your email once approved.
Please note: first time registration will allow you access to racing the next day. If you are registering in advance, please ignore barcode received and apply as usual the day before you are due to go racing.
Daily Race Day Application
If registered already owners can use the app IHRB Racecourse Access Pass to register for a race day pass. In order to receive a barcode for racing:
• Owners must apply by 11pm the previous day. After answering all the relevant questions, your status will be ‘in review’ or ‘pending’ which means the application was successful and you will receive a code in time for racing once approved.
• Two admissions per horse will be permitted, for example if you have two runners four people can attend. Children can attend but will count towards the total admission per owner
• All attendees will be required, without exception, to complete the online health screening.
The Barcodes will be sent by email to the registered email address and to your Racecourse Access Pass app on completion of the health screening questionnaire.
Race Day Expectations
Owners should be cognisant that the race day experience will be vastly different from what they are used to with many restrictions as all attendees must comply with Government and HSE Guidelines and HRI Protocols.
• Owners must bring along their unique barcode with AIR Card and Photo ID to the race meeting and will be subject to a thermal screening on arrival.
• Social Distance (2 Metres) & face coverings will apply for all attendees
• There will be no indoor access for owners
• There will be a designated briefing area for your trainer/jockey to meet you outside the parade ring before and after your race, please note the jockey may be required to weigh in first and return for consultation.
• Winning owners are allowed to access the parade ring to welcome their horse back to the winning enclosure and for the presentation.
• Outdoor refreshments will be available and owners are welcome to stay on course for the duration of the day
There is a help desk available for owners support to answer any questions you may have on 045 455601. It is open from Mon – Fri from 10am to 4pm and on Weekends and Bank Holidays from 10am to 1pm.
The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners are calling for the immediate return of Owners to Irish Racetracks. It has been an unprecedented experience for owners since March 2020 having to watch their horses run whilst not being allowed to attend. Owners have been most understanding throughout the process that in the midst of a Worldwide pandemic every effort was made to ensure public health was protected and furthermore to ensure those who were allowed to race were kept as safe as possible. Owners are appreciative that racing was allowed to continue throughout much of the period.
At this time however AIRO are requesting that owners are allowed to return to racing with immediate effect. In September, for a brief period, owners were allowed to attend race meetings and from that experience we know how safe that it has already been. With Government currently considering return of indoor dining and indeed crowds being tested at sports events in the relatively near future we feel it is an appropriate time for owners to be allowed to return.
AIRO are calling on Horse Racing Ireland, the Dept of Agriculture and Racecourses to work together to facilitate this next step as matter of urgency. Owners in the UK have been racing for many weeks and we understand that there have been no issues emerging while France Galop have allowed 1000 people back to racing this week. AIRO feel that given where Ireland is currently placed in relation to Vaccinations, Case Numbers and indeed its success at protecting those who have attended race meetings that it is now time to allow owners to return to the racecourses and enjoy their horses running in a safe and controlled manner.
HRI have just announced that there will be 3 additional fixtures at:
Limerick - May 18th - (this will be an all Steeplechase card while Limerick’s scheduled meeting on Thursday 27 May will now become an all Hurdle/Bumper card)
Tipperary May 25th - (this will be an all Hurdle card)
Punchestown May 31st
The race programme details for these meetings, and any other related programming changes at other meetings, will be published on RAS in due course.
This is very welcome news and these fixtures will go a long way to help the current balloting issues being experienced by Owners. We have lobbied hard for additional fixtures and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.
AIRO would like to inform members that we are in constant contact with Horse Racing Ireland regarding owners returning to the track. We have been informed that HRI met the Minister and Department officials last week and the return of owners to the racecourse was among the agenda items discussed. The Minister is acutely aware of the importance of owners to our industry and specifically called out their patience and loyalty during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the legislation currently stands, only essential workers necessary for the operation of a race-meeting are allowed on-course and unfortunately this does not include owners. This legislation will not be altered in the short-term and the best chance of getting owners (HRI’s priority) and racegoers back on track is a change to the public health guidance.
The Government announced last week that outdoor sports events will be looked at in June with a view to later in the year. Horse Racing Ireland will continue to make the point that racecourses are open, outdoor venues conducive to holding events in a safe manner and have also offered that horse racing will be available to take part in any outdoor trial events and we will continue to engage with the Minister to that end. We will continue to pursue this agenda and will keep owners informed.
AIRO were delighted to be able to sponsor the Winter Series in Dundalk awards once again for the 2020/21 season. The series was very well supported by trainers and owners and was highly competitive throughout. We sponsor two categories 'Horse with Most Points' and 'Horse with Most Wins' and we feel it is really important to recognise and support owners through our sponsorship
Horse with the Most Points Award
Winner: Sunset Nova Owner(s): Men of Forty Eight Syndicate
Trainer: Andrew Slattery
Sunset Nova has been a model of consistency for his owners throughout this season and was a clear winner in the horse with points winner on 42 points.
Horse with the Most Wins Award
Winner: Togoville Owner(s): Patrick J McCann
Trainer: Anthony McCann
This season, Togoville received legendary status at Dundalk. Not only did he win 3 times on the bounce, he set a record of 14 wins at Dundalk and connections announced his retirement at the awards meeting.
Recent weeks has seen an explosion of entries into National Hunt maiden hurdles and handicap hurdles. Owners are experiencing severe frustrations in attempts to get a run into their horses and we want to assure owners we are continually expressing those frustrations to Horse Racing Ireland.
There are many contributing factors including:
Fortunately there is some cause for optimism that the situation may well improve.
The re-scheduled meeting next Monday in Limerick (19th April) will comprise of 4 races 2 x Maiden Hurdles (one Mares) and 2 x H’cap Hurdles each of which will divide and hopefully go a little way to alleviate some of the backlog. The resumption of P2P’s will take some of the horses out of the system and we are also hoping that in the coming weeks 6YO+ P2P horses will return to the points circuit but want to assure you are we are monitoring this situation very closely. Winter horses traditionally end their season at this time of year leaving the path clear for summer horses and there can often be something of an increase in demand around April/May but this year with the additional issues referenced above it has become a more serious issue.
AIRO, through its representation both at HRI board level and on the NH programming committee continue to make representation to HRI in order to find ways to alleviate this issue on behalf of our members
What a race and what an unbelievable outcome for Irish National Hunt racing. Rachael Blackmore continued her good run of form to power home in the Randox Aintree Grand National at Aintree. She etched her name into racing folklore as the first lady rider to win this most famous race of all and has established herself as a role-model for every young aspiring jockey regardless of gender.
Huge congratulations are extended to owner JP McManus, his wife Noreen and their Family. It is very poignant that when National Hunt history was being made that his green and gold silks were involved considering the huge impact he has made on the sport both sides of the Irish sea. For Henry DeBromhead, I’m sure this dream season is one he never wants to wake up from and we are delighted for him and his team at Knockeen Stables in Co. Waterford.
Kevin Blake in his commentary on ITV steered viewers to a 50/1 bet for the first four home being Irish trained much to the bemusement of his fellow presenters and how right he was! Not only were first four home Irish trained but the first 5 and 9 out of the first 10 to finish the race. That is a remarkable achievement and we want to extend our heartiest congratulations to all connections.
Other Irish Winners at the festival included the following:
Grade 1 – Abacadabras – Gigginstown House Stud –Denise Foster
Grade 1 – Belfast Banter – Direct Bloodstock Ltd – Peter Fahey
Grade 1 – Fakir D’Oudairies – JP McManus – Joseph O’Brien
Grade 2 - Me Too Please – Mrs A L T Moore – Arthur Moore
Grade 3 – Livelovelaugh – Mrs S Ricci – W P Mullins
Grade 3 – Tronador – M J Wasylocha – Denise Foster