2008 Award Winners

The awards are designed to honour the human and equine talent which has made racing one of the country’s most popular sports and delivered great success in the international arena...

New Approach Crowned 2008 Horse of the Year



-Derby Winner New Approach Voted Horse of the Year-
- Ruby Walsh, JT McNamara & Dave Fox win Awards-
-19 year old Patrick Mullins wins Outstanding Achievement-
-Flat Award went to Champion UK & Irish Trainer Aidan O’Brien-

The 2008 Horse Racing Ireland awards were hosted in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.  These awards are designed to honour the human and equine talent which has made racing one of the country’s most popular sports and delivered great success in the international arena.

2008 was the sixth year of the awards which are voted on by the Irish Racing Media to recognise excellence in the sport of horse racing.

The awards were presented by Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism who said: “It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to meet the nominees and winners of the 2008 awards.  For a small country, Ireland holds a pre-eminent position in the thoroughbred racing and breeding world and 2008 has been another season of remarkable success for Irish racing, with Irish trainers and jockeys excelling at all levels."

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland said: - "Despite the current economic downturn, 2008 was a very successful year for Irish racing.  Our flat horses dominated throughout Europe and with the national hunt season getting into full swing, we have much to look forward to in 2009”.

• 2008 was a remarkable season for Irish Flat racing, with Irish horses winning 29 of the 44 Group 1 races in Britain and Ireland.
• Ruby Walsh was crowned Champion National Hunt Jockey with 131 wins.
• Irish trainers and jockeys continued to excel at all levels, with Aidan O’Brien becoming champion trainer in both Britain and Ireland for the 2nd consecutive year and also recording 23 Group 1 wins worldwide.
• Seven of the last ten winners of the Epsom Derby have been bred in Ireland.
• In seven of the last nine years, the flat jockeys’ title in Britain has been won by an Irishman.
• At the 2008 Cheltenham Festival, nine of the ten Grade 1 winners were bred in Ireland.

2008_HRI_Award_Winners
2008 HRI Award Recipients L-R: John Ferguson, Patrick Mullins, Dave Fox, Aidan O'Brien, 
JT McNamara and Ruby Walsh.

The list of Winners & Nominees for the 2008 Awards are as follows:-

Horse of the Year – New Approach
Duke of Marmalade, Henrythenavigator, Yeats, Lush Lashes, New Approach & Halfway to Heaven

National Hunt – Ruby Walsh
Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh, Davy Russell, John Queally, Barry Geraghty

Flat – Aidan O’Brien
Jim Bolger, Kevin Manning, Johnny Murtagh, Aidan O’Brien, Seamus Heffernan

Outstanding Achievement – Patrick Mullins
Ger Lyons, Patrick Mullins, Paddy Flood, David Wachman, Henry De Bromhead

Point-To-Point – JT McNamara
Derek O’Connor, Clare McMahon, JT McNamara, Eugene O’Sullivan

Contribution to the Industry – Dave Fox – Jockeys Valet for 50 years
• Previous winners:- Galway Race Committee, Con Collins, Kevin Prendergast & Tony Sweeney