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Finalists announced for Godolphin-backed awards in Ireland

Jimmy 'Slim' O'Neill won the Irish racing excellence award last year
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A total of 150 nominations have been whittled down to 21 finalists across seven of the ten categories for the Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards, which take place on May 9 in the Newpark Hotel, County Kilkenny.

The winner in each of these categories will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and €5,000, with the exception of the newcomer award, whose winner will receive a trip to Dubai and €2,500.

The ten categories carry total prize-money of €80,000, an increase of €10,000 from 2016. The flagship award is the Irish racing excellence award, which was won last year by Jimmy 'Slim' O'Neill from John Oxx’s stable.

Michael O’Rourke, chairman of the judging committee, said: “It is inspiring to review the nominations for these awards because they reveal the true heart and spirit within Irish racing.  

“The level of skill and dedication demonstrated across so many disciplines shows how Ireland has achieved such an envied position in the racing world.

"The finalists are the best of the best in the judge’s eyes and each one can be very proud."

He added: "Godolphin’s generous support for these awards has allowed us to give proper recognition to their achievements and publicise the contribution of everyone in the stud, stable and racing support sectors.”

The finalists in each category were chosen by the ten judges on the Irish Stud and Stable Staff judging committee, who reviewed each of the nomination forms and interviewed all the finalists.

Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards 2017 finalists

Administration award

Tom Gallagher – stud office manager, Kildangan Stud, County Kildare
Catherine McAvinney – practice manager, Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital, County Kildare
Zoe Winston – PA/racing secretary, Gordon Elliott Racing, County Meath

Newcomer award

Mark Byrne – marketing & nominations, Ballylinch Stud, County Kilkenny
Sarah McCrory – groom/work-rider, Ted Walsh, County Kildare
Patrick Murray – stable groom, Dermot Weld, County Kildare

Horse Care award

Joe Behan – groom, Derrinstown Stud, County Kildare
Ashley Hussey – stable lass, Jessica Harrington, County Kildare
Elaine O’Donovan – head girl, Eoin Griffin, County Kilkenny

In The Saddle award

Brendan Hoare – stud groom, Coolmore Stud, County Tipperary
Derek McCormack – assistant head lad/work-rider, Dermot Weld, County Kildare
Adrian Taylor – assistant trainer, Jim Bolger, County Carlow

Travelling Head Person award

Patrick O’Brien – travelling head lad, Dermot Weld, County Kildare
Camilla Sharples – travelling head girl, Gordon Elliott, County Meath
Hazel Wallace – travelling head girl, Tracey Collins, County Kildare

Leads by Example award

Robert Hennessy – head lad, Sandra Hughes, County Kildare
Joseph Mulholland – head man, Rathbride Yard, Dermot Weld, County Kildare
Owen Smyth – head stallion man, Kildangan Stud, County Kildare

Dedication to Racing and Breeding award

Tony Coyle – stud manager, Yeomanstown Lodge Stud, County Kildare
Robert Gallagher – travelling head man, Michael Halford, County Kildare
Tommy Woods – travelling head man, Paul Nolan, County Wexford

The level of skill and dedication demonstrated across so many disciplines shows how Ireland has achieved such an envied position in the racing world

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