Alpha Centauri crowned 2018 Horse of the Year

Rachael Blackmore wins National Hunt Achievement Award at HRI awards

 Alpha Centauri with trainer Jessica Harrington at the Curragh Racecourse. Photograph: Peter Mooney/Inpho

Alpha Centauri with trainer Jessica Harrington at the Curragh Racecourse. Photograph: Peter Mooney/Inpho

 

The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri was crowned 2018 Horse of the Year at Tuesday night’s Horse Racing Ireland awards in Dublin.

Alpha Centauri had to be retired after sustaining an injury at September’s Irish Champions Weekend but prior to that had won four Group One races in a row.

They included classic success in May’s Irish 1,000 Guineas and a first Royal Ascot victory for Harrington with a spectacular victory in the Coronation Stakes.

A total of 10 awards were given at a ceremony at which Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed was guest of honour.

They included the National Hunt Achievement Award which was won by top jockey Rachael Blackmore. The pioneering professional rider is currently top of the jockeys standings in Ireland on 61 winners for the season.

Two other pioneering women, Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry, were given the first ever Irish Racing Hero Award.

Retired

Sisters-in-law Walsh and Carberry both retired from the saddle at last April’s Punchestown festival after hugely successful careers in the amateur jockey ranks.

It included victories for both women in the Irish Grand National and at the Cheltenham festival.

Punchestown landed Racecourse of the Year while Ride of the Year, which was decided by a public vote, went to the record-breaking point to point jockey Derek O’Connor for his Irish Gold Cup victory in February on the 33-1 shot Edwulf.

A hugely popular winner of the Contribution to the Industry Award was Dr Adrian McGoldrick who is about to retire as chief medical officer at the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

“We have people and horses in Ireland who have achieved some truly brilliant things in 2018 and it is fitting that we honour them,” said HRI’s chairman, Nicky Hartery.

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