Down Royal takes the win at awards

James Nicholson and Mike Todd from Down Royal Racecourse were delighted to receive the HRI Racecourse of the Year Award. Photo by Chris Bellew, Fennells
James Nicholson and Mike Todd from Down Royal Racecourse were delighted to receive the HRI Racecourse of the Year Award. Photo by Chris Bellew, Fennells

Down Royal was named Racecourse of the Year at the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Awards at Leopardstown Racecourse this week.

The local racecourse, one of the most popular and progressive racecourses in Ireland, has undergone a huge amount of development and improvement over the past decade, and hosts the first Grade 1 race of the jumps season every year.

The Racecourse of the Year award was presented to racecourse chairman Jim Nicholson and manager Mike Todd.

Other winners at the 15th annual HRI Awards, which were attended by many of the industry’s leading figures, were:

Contribution to the Industry Award - Aidan O’Brien

Horse of the Year Award - Sizing John

National Hunt Award - Jessica Harrington

Flat Award - Colin Keane

Outstanding Achievement Award - Joseph O’Brien

Point-To-Point Award - Barry O’Neill

Each of the award winners received a specially commissioned bronze trophy created by sculptor Siobhan Bulfin.

Down Royal manager Mike Todd commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled and the award was absolutely unexpected. It’s rewarding to see our efforts over the last 21 years acknowledged and what we’ve achieved in recent times to develop our festival of racing and flat calendar.

“We’ve focused in recent times on keeping our race attendance strong and buoyant. We sell fun and the racing is a backdrop to a great day out. Down Royal is a vibrant, fun and buzzy place to come watch a spectacular sport.

“We have the first Grade 1 race of the entire race season that sees the National Hunt Race turn out at Down Royal and it’s great to have that calibre of horse at our track.”

Horse Racing Ireland, Chairman, Joe Keeling, said: “Today has allowed Horse Racing Ireland honour the wonderful achievements of the Irish racing industry throughout 2017. Many congratulations to the many nominees and the deserving winners and I wish everyone in the Irish racing industry continued success in the year ahead.”