THE Western Region of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association saw their annual breeding and racing awards return to the Killanin Stand on Galway Plate day this week.

Close to 300 people attended the lunch which celebrates the achievements of horses and breeders in the west of Ireland. Among the guests were Ministers Martin Heydon and Peter Burke, and Senators Fiona McLoughlin and Sean Kyne.

The first of seven awards presented went to Brendan and Michael Cooney of Camogue Stud in Co Roscommon. They bred Italian Group 2 winner Chestnut Honey, a daughter of No Nay Never.

Galvin’s Grade 1 Savills Chase victory earned breeders Gabriel O’Gara and Sean O’Brien the National Hunt Chaser Award.

As chairman of the Western Region, Sean Murphy of Ryehill Stud has presented many awards at this event over the years. How satisfying it must have been for him to be on the receiving end this year, picking up the National Hunt Hurdler Award as the breeder of star stayer Flooring Porter.

Martin Cullinane of Mount Brown Farm in Athenry is arguably the best known breeder in the region, constantly associated with good horses on the flat and over jumps. This year he received the Point-to-Point Award, having produced three individual winners in that sphere last season.

Tony Killoran of Kilmovee, Co Mayo, was a deserving winner of the Small Breeder Award. Based in Britain for almost 50 years, Tony has had horses in training for over 40 years. As a breeder he has success at the sales, most recently with Mehmar, who finished third in the Group 3 Marble Hill Stakes.

Johnny Hassett is the recipient of this year’s Contribution to the Industry Award. His Bloodstock Connection consignment business in Ballyhannon, Co Clare, is firmly established as a leading player in the breeze-up sector. He has also been to the forefront in promoting the bloodstock business to a wider audience through his social media videos. Johnny’s handling of his own health issues recently also won widespread admiration and brought out the best side of the industry.

What a thrill for breeders James Linnane, Jim Moore and Brendan Gardiner to have produced a dual classic winner in Stroxx Carlras. The son of Footstepsinthesand completed the Sweden-Norway Derby double, earning his breeders a Special Recognition Award.

Brendan, James and Jim are well-known figures in the Galway town of Mountbellew. There they serve the local community and beyond with veterinary and G.P. services.

All lifelong breeders, in recent times have turned towards thoroughbreds, forming a partnership comprising of two mares, from which they’ve produced horses such as Takarengo, Pillar Of Society and now Stroxx Carlos. James also bred the Henry de Bromhead trained Sizing Australia, a Cheltenham Festival winner.

Speaking about the day, Sean Murphy said: “It is great to be back in person at Galway this year to celebrate the success of western breeders. We are delighted to be able to tie our awards day to one of the best racing festivals in the world and we thank Galway Racecourse and Lydon House Catering for facilitating us, year on year.

“I would like to thank our sponsors Coolmore Stud, Godolphin Ireland, Goffs, Sean Barrett Bloodstock Insurance, Tattersalls Ireland, The Irish Field and Weatherbys for their continued support, without which days like this would not be possible.

“The awards are a wonderful opportunity to showcase our great industry and the people and horses behind it. Also a huge thanks to our MC Richard Pugh and the Western Region Committee who give their time for the betterment of breeders in the west.”

Award Winners

Flat Award: Brendan & Michael Cooney of Camogue Stud for Chestnut Honey

Sponsor: Coolmore Stud

National Hunt Chaser Award: Gabriel O’Gara and Sean O’Brien for Galvin

Sponsor: Tattersalls Ireland

National Hunt Hurdler Award: Sean Murphy for Flooring Porter

Sponsor: Goffs

Point-to-Point Award: Martin


Sponsor: The Irish Field

Small Breeder Award: Tony Killoran

Sponsor: Weatherbys Ireland

Contribution to the Industry: Johnny Hassett

Sponsor: Sean Barrett Bloodstock Insurance Ltd

Special Recognition Awards:

Winner: James Linnane, Dr Jim Moore & Mr Brendan Gardiner for Stroxx Carlras

Sponsor: Godolphin Ireland