TWENTY-FOUR finalists, short-listed for eight of the 10 award categories in the 2018 Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, were announced today. The finalists were short-listed from almost 350 nominations received, the highest number of nominations received since Godolphin’s sponsorship of the awards began in 2015.
The winner in each of these categories will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and €5,000 in prizemoney, with the exception of the Newcomer Award, who will receive a trip to Dubai, plus €2,500. The winner’s yard, stud or company in each category will also receive a cash prize to be divided amongst employees.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, May 21st in the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, County Meath.
The Racecourse Award will be 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.
The flagship award – The Irish Racing Excellence Award will be presented to one of the winners of the Administration, Horse Care, In the Saddle, Travelling Head Person, Leads by Example and Dedication to Racing and Breeding Awards. This person, 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 total prize-money of €84,000, an increase of €4,500 from 2017.
Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor, Charities, for Godolphin, said: “The contribution from stud and stable staff to the success of the thoroughbred industry in Ireland plays a vital role in confirming Ireland’s global reputation. All 24 finalists are fitting examples of Irish racing excellence and Godolphin is delighted to sponsor these awards and recognise and reward their inspirational work ethic and dedication.”
Bernard Caldwell, Irish Stablestaff Association, commented: “Thank you to all those who nominated their friends and colleagues. We were overwhelmed with the volume and quality of the nominations. It’s a testament to Godolphin’s very generous sponsorship that these awards go from strength to strength every year. Thanks also to Horse Racing Ireland who project manage the event. We are looking forward to celebrating the hard work and achievements of all the stud and stable staff in Knightstbook Hotel on Monday, 21st of May.”
Michael O’Rourke, Chairman of the judging committee said: “The level of dedication, skill and love of horses was very evident and inspiring to read in all the nominations. The judges had an unenviable task to pick 24 finalists from almost 350 nominations, so thank you to all those who nominated their colleagues and friends. Godolphin’s generous support for these awards has allowed us to give proper recognition to their achievements and to publicise the contribution of everyone in the stud, stable and racing support sectors.”
The finalists in each category were chosen by the 13 judges on the Irish Stud and Stable Staff judging committee who reviewed each of the nomination forms and interviewed all the finalists.
The finalists are:
Racing and Breeding Support Services
Martin Leahy, Master Farrier, Bruff, Co Limerick
Sharon O’Regan, Head of Operations, Weatherbys Ireland GSB Ltd, Co Kildare
Martin ‘Snowy’ Pearce, Facilities Manager, Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare
Gillian Carey, Operations Manager, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co Meath
Denis Hickey, Racing Secretary, Ballydoyle, Co Tipperary
Vicki McWey, Supervisor Registrations Department, Horse Racing Ireland, Co Kildare
Georgie Benson, Stable Lass, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath
Joanne Eaton, Stable Lass, Willie McCreery, Co Kildare
Charlie Sweeney, Pupil Assistant/Second Head Lad, Eyrefield House Stud, Co Kildare
Horse Care Award
Emma Connolly, Travelling Head Lass / Assistant Trainer, Noel Meade, Co Meath
Mary Nugent, Travelling Assistant, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath
Sinead O’Sullivan, Head Girl, John Murphy, Co Cork
In The Saddle Award
Audrey O’Neill, Exercise Rider & Groom, John Oxx, Co Kildare
James Rath, Head Lad, Liz Doyle, Co Wexford
Josep Sans Sanchez, Head Man, PJ Prendergast, Co Kildare
Travelling Head Person Award
Tina Evans, Travelling Head Person, Joseph O’Brien, Co Kilkenny
Jason Forsyth, Travelling Head Person, John Oxx, Co Kildare
Camilla Sharples, Travelling Head Girl, Gordon Elliott, Co Meath
Leads by Example Award
Tom Daly, Assistant Head Man, Dermot Weld, Co Kildare
Valerie Keatley, Head Girl, Johnny Murtagh, Co Kildare
Stephen Thorne, Assistant Trainer, Adrian McGuinness, Co Dublin (2014 Godolphin Flying Start graduate)
Dedication to Racing and Breeding Award
Pat Farrell, Broodmare Manager, Moyglare Stud, Co Kildare
Eamonn Leigh, Headman, Jessica Harrington, Co Kildare
Tommy Ryan, Head Lad, Edward O’Grady, Co Tipperary