Gold standard: Smyth wins Irish Racing Excellence Award
Owen Smyth, head stallion man at Kildangan Stud, County Kildare, was the recipient of the top honour – the Irish Racing Excellence Award – at the annual Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards ceremony at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny last night.
Godolphin are the principal sponsors of the awards, run in association with the Irish Stablestaff Association, the Racing Post and Horse Racing Ireland.
From Crumlin in Dublin, Smyth, who also won the Leads by Example Award, is a graduate of the Racing Academy Centre of Education in Kildare and has worked in the racing and breeding industries since 1983.
He has been with Kildangan Stud since 1988, having previously worked for Dermot Weld and in Kentucky, where he spent a breeding season.
The ten awards, worth a total of €80,000, were presented by Brian Cody, manager of the Kilkenny hurling team. Richard Forristal, editor of the Racing Post in Ireland, was MC for the evening.
In addition to Smyth, who won the overall accolade, the winners included Adrian Taylor, assistant trainer to Jim Bolger, Patrick 'Whacker' O'Brien, travelling head lad to Dermot Weld, and Tommy Woods, who fulfils a similar role with Paul Nolan.
Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Award winners
Irish Racing Excellence Award: Owen Smyth, head stallion man at Kildangan Stud
Leads by Example Award: Owen Smyth
Administration Award: Catherine McAvinney, practice manager at Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital, Kildare
In the Saddle Award: Adrian Taylor, assistant trainer to Jim Bolger
Travelling Head Person Award: Patrick O'Brien, travelling head lad for Dermot Weld
Newcomer Award: Sarah McCrory, head girl with Ted Walsh
Dedication to Racing and Breeding Award: Tommy Woods, travelling head lad for Paul Nolan
Horse Care Award: Elaine O'Donovan, head girl with Eoin Griffin
Racing and Breeding Support Services Award: James Flanagan, farrier to Jim Dreaper
Racecourse Award: Punchestown