Meath woman Nina Carberry and her sister-in-law Katie Walsh were honoured with the inaugural Irish Racing Hero Award at the annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards in Dublin last night.
They both retired as two of Irish racing’s most celebrated amateur riders at the Punchestown Festival in April.
They both enjoyed stellar careers, becoming household names by riding winners on the biggest stages in Ireland and Britain, as well as Australia, France and Germany.
They each graced the winners’ enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival on multiple occasions, they won an Irish Grand National apiece and countless other races on the Flat, in bumpers, over hurdles and over fences.
It was a fairytale night for women jockeys with one of the stars of the current jumps season, jockeys’ title leader Rachael Blackmore, also taking an award.
The winners in 10 categories, including four new awards, were announced at a ceremony which was attended by many of the industry’s leading figures.
Guest of honour was Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and guests were welcomed by HRI chairman Nicky Hartery.
“Our people and horses did us proud once again in 2018 and my congratulations go to everyone who has contributed to another memorable year for Irish racing," commented HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh,
"We can look back on the careers of our ‘heroes’ Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry with great fondness and what an impressive legacy they leave behind, as does Dr Adrian McGoldrick, a very deserving winner of the Contribution to the Industry Award.
"Alpha Centauri is a fine winner of the Horse of the Year Award. Our congratulations to her connections, including Maria Niarchos-Gouazé and Electra Niarchos, who we were delighted to have with us tonight,” he added.
The winners of the 16th annual awards were as follows:
Irish Racing Hero Award: Katie Walsh & Nina Carberry
Contribution to the Industry Award: Dr Adrian McGoldrick
Horse of the Year Award: Alpha Centauri
National Hunt Award: Willie Mullins
Flat Award: Donnacha O'Brien
National Hunt Achievement Award: Rachael Blackmore
Flat Achievement Award: Patrick Prendergast
Point-To-Point Award: Barry O’Neill
Ride of the Year Award: Derek O’Connor
Racecourse of the Year Award: Punchestown Racecourse