Alpha Centauri Crowned 2018 Irish Horse of the Year

Alpha Centauri Crowned 2018 Irish Horse of the Year

The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri, who was arguably one of the stars of the year, was crowned 2018 Horse of the Year at Tuesday night’s Horse Racing Ireland awards in Dublin.

Alpha Centauri won four Group One races in a row this year, but sadly had to be retired after sustaining a foot injury in the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend in September.

She earned classic glory back in May’s Irish 1,000 Guineas under Colm O'Donoghue, who also guided Centuari to victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, thus supplying Harrington's first Royal winner.

The 3yo owned by the Niarchos Family, demolished her rivals in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, before conquering some of Europe's best in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Elsewhere at the awards, female jockeys' Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh were honoured with the inaugural Irish Racing Hero Award after bringing an end to their successful careers back in April - in which they both won the Irish Grand National and at the Cheltenham Festival.

Rachael Blackmore, current leader of the jump jockeys' championship with 61 winners, ended a good night for the girls when receiving the National Hunt Achievement Award.

The overall National Hunt award went to Champion Trainer Willie Mullins, who enjoyed yet another stunning year, recording a record total of 212 winners, overcoming Gordon Elliott's relentless challenge towards the latter stages of the season.

Punchestown landed Racecourse of the Year whilst Ride of the Year, voted for by the public from six nominations chosen by Ruby Walsh and Johnny Murtagh, went to young jockey Derek O’Connor.

A record breaker in point-to-points, O'Connor was rewarded for his outstanding determination in the Irish Gold Cup aboard the JP McManus owned Edwulf, who was lucky to even be in the race after breaking down at Cheltenham last year.

Aiden O'Brien's son Donnacha won the main Flat Award, having won the Jockeys' Championship with well over 100 winners and partnering three Classic winners in Saxon Warrior and Forever Together in Britain for dad, Aiden and Latrobe, for his brother, Joseph, in the Irish Derby.

Awards:

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

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