O'Briens claim HRI awards hat-trick
Racing:The O’Brien family celebrated a unique treble at the 10th annual Horse Racing Ireland awards at Leopardstown this afternoon as Camelot was crowned racehorse of the year.
Aidan O’Brien picked up his latest Irish flat trainers’ title, while his 19-year-old son Joseph won the flat jockey title for a second straight year.
The master of Ballydoyle enjoyed another multiple Group One-winning year, highlighted by the exploits of Camelot, who went in search of the Triple Crown following wins in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby.
Sandwiched between those runs was victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
O’Brien said: “We’re very lucky to be the small part of the team we are. I can’t tell you how privileged we feel to be that small part.
“It (this season) went great and we were very lucky Camelot came along and he was a big part of it.
“It was a little bit slow in the middle of the season as the ground got very soft, but the horses started off very well and they finished well too.
“Camelot is a very unique horse, we think. He’s one of those special horses that comes along once in a lifetime.
“We were so lucky to have him. It was 10 years since we won the Epsom Derby and he won the Guineas, so we weren’t sure he was going to be able to get a mile and a half.”
O’Brien also had the pleasure of seeing Joseph, partner Camelot to his Classic successes on his way to being crowned champion Flat jockey in Ireland for the first time.
O’Brien has been champion trainer continuously since 1998, but the achievement of the pair in winning both titles was the first time a father and son had been crowned since 1916.
He added: “We’re part of a big team and Joseph is a big part of that now. It’s great we can all work together and I can’t tell you how privileged we feel.”
Davy Russell won the national hunt award after becoming champion jockey for the first time in April.
Popular trainer Peter Casey picked up the outstanding achievement award for his superb handling of the top rated novice chaser Flemenstar.
Cork-based Jockey Colman Sweeney claimed the point-to-point award for the first time after defying all odds to lose over a stone in weight in one month, before going on to win his second Cheltenham Foxhunters Chase on Salsify.
The new addition to this year’s awards – the racecourse of the year – went to Ballinrobe. In addition to the six main categories, HRI presented Moyglare Stud with the contribution to the industry award.