O’Brien claims HRI Flat prize

Aidan O'Brien's highly-successful year was honoured by Horse Racing Ireland when he lifted the Flat Award at a reception at Leopardstown racecourse.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien: Enjoyed a remarkable 2016

The Ballydoyle trainer has carried all before him in 2016, enjoying 22 Group One wins worldwide.

Champion trainer in Ireland once again with 117 victories, he also took the title in Britain with 13 Group One victories alone.

O'Brien also had the distinction of saddling the first three home in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.

Despite his own stellar achievements, O'Brien pointed to the Moyglare Stakes win of Intricately as a particular highlight in 2016, with the filly being trained and ridden by his two sons, Joseph and Donnacha respectively.

"Obviously we're delighted to win it. As everyone knows, we're a small part of a big team and we're very privileged to win it," he said.

"The Moyglare was great. We finished second but for the lads, Joseph and Donnacha, it was incredible and the Arc was an incredible day for us too really."

Minding, one of O'Brien's star performers, was named Horse of the Year.

Owned by Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor, Minding won five of the seven Group One races she contested this year with her victories coming in the 1000 Guineas, Investec Oaks, Pretty Polly Stakes, Nassau Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The National Hunt Award went to champion trainer Willie Mullins, who had another great season with 34 Grade One wins globally and seven victories at the Cheltenham Festival.

He also saddled six Grade One winners at the Punchestown Festival, won the Guinness Galway Hurdle with Clondaw Warrior and enjoyed a first Classic winner with Wicklow Brave in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

"We have a fantastic team at home of horses and people working for us, so it's nice to accept it on their behalf," said Mullins.

"I think the highlight of the year has to be Annie Power winning the Champion Hurdle. Coming to the last, I was just hoping she'd get over it and not have what happened the previous year."

Mullins' mum Maureen, wife of the late Paddy Mullins, took the Contribution to the Industry Award.

"That was unexpected. It's great for her and for everyone in the family," he said.

Mouse Morris, who saddled the winners of both the Irish and English Grand Nationals with Rogue Angel and Rule The World respectively, won the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Jamie Codd took the Point-To-Point prize while Galway collected the Racecourse of the Year Award.

Read More at Sporting Life

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