Friday 24 November 2017

Fly makes 'awards' history as Dundalk plan to go jumping

Johnny Murtagh receives his ‘Flat’ award from Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney
Johnny Murtagh receives his ‘Flat’ award from Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney

Hurricane Fly has made yet more history after he was awarded the prestigious title of Racehorse of the Year for the second time.

The reigning Champion Hurdler became the first horse to win the award twice at the 11th annual Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Awards at Leopardstown.

Last month, the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old galloped to a world record of 17 Grade One wins with victory in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

Hurricane Fly saw off strong competition, with the other nominees being Dawn Approach, Declaration Of War, Magician, Quevega and Sir Des Champs. Mullins took the National Hunt honour after saddling 193 winners in Ireland last season, easily beating the previous best of 155. The award was accepted by his mother, Maureen, as the champion trainer is in Hong Kong, where he has been supervising his leading Flat horse, Simenon.

Johnny Murtagh capped a year to remember when named the recipient of the Flat award. Long regarded as one of the world's elite jockeys, the popular Murtagh now has a dual role as he trains from his base on the Curragh.

Murtagh -- who rode 30 winners in Ireland from just 125 rides, and was responsible for 15 winners as a trainer -- landed the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Novellist for Germany's Andreas Wohler.

Kildare jockey Barry Cash collected the Outstanding Achievement award, which was open to a public vote for the first time, while Wexford native Jamie Codd received his first Point-To-Point award.

Racecourse of the Year went to Dundalk, which will not be resting on its laurels, as chief executive Jim Martin revealed they plan to be the "world's first floodlit jumps track". In addition to the six main categories, HRI presented Jim Bolger with the Contribution to Industry award.

Irish Independent

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