The nominations for the 2016 annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards have been announced, with 26 stars of the racing industry in the running to win an award. Closutton Champion Trainer Willie Mullins has been nominated in the National Hunt Category, while his nephew David Mullins from Goresbridge has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement Award.
RTE sports broadcaster Des Cahill will be master of ceremonies for the awards, which take place at Leopardstown Racecourse on Monday December 5th.
Another remarkable year for Willie Mullins saw him achieve 34 Grade 1 wins worldwide with another seven at the Cheltenham Festival including a fourth Champion Hurdle with Annie Power. He also enjoyed six Grade 1 winners at the Punchestown Festival. Two horses trained by Mullins have been nominated in the Horse of the Year category – Annie Power and Douvan.
A son of trainer Tom Mullins, David’s achievement of winning the 2016 Aintree Grand National, the most famous National Hunt race in the world, at the tender age of 19 earns him a nomination in the Outstanding Achievement category. David only rode his first winner as a professional in December 2014 but has quickly established himself as a high-class rider with the obvious highlight his never-to-be-forgotten Aintree victory on the ‘Mouse’ Morris trained Rule The World.
Nominations for the Horse of the Year award include Annie Power, winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival; Cheltenham Timico Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, who shared the title at the 2015 awards; unbeaten novice chase star Douvan; Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Found; dual Derby winner Harzand; recent Breeders’ Cup winner, Highland Reel and Investec Oaks and QIPCO 1,000 Guineas winner, Minding.
The Flat nominees are trainers Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld and jockeys Seamie Heffernan and Pat Smullen.
The nominees in the Outstanding Achievement category, selected by the Irish racing media, include trainers Adrian Keatley, John Kiely, Mouse Morris and Kevin Prendergast. Jockey David Mullins has also been selected along with the Moyglare Stud Stakes winning trainer/jockey combination of brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien.