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O'Briens honoured at ceremony for their 2017 achievements
06 Dec 2017 | 

Aidan and Joseph O'Brien were both honoured for their achievements in 2017 at the HRI Awards lunch at Leopardstown racecourse.

The master of Ballydoyle was presented with the contribution to the industry award by the minister for agriculture, food and the marine Michael Creed both for his world record-breaking haul of top-level wins this year and his huge list of big-race successes since he started training in 1993.

The particular award has gone to many well-known Irish racing personalities in the past and trainers to have won the prize in previous years include Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger, Kevin Prendergast and the late Con Collins.

A typically modest O'Brien said: "This award was the last thing I expected coming here today. I'm very grateful to receive it. Our operation is a big chain and I'm privileged to be a link in it."

Without going into any details O'Brien, who will have five runners in Hong Kong on Sunday, mentioned Galileo, for what he achieved on the racecourse and since, and Istabraq as two of his favourites from all the horses he has trained during his career.

Joseph O'Brien won the outstanding achievement award for his Melbourne Cup victory with Rekindling last month. Joseph was attending the sales in Newmarket and the prize was received on his behalf by his brother Donnacha.

Asked by master of ceremonies Des Cahill whether it was easier to ride for his father or his brother, the younger O'Brien said: "It's easier to ride for my father – he doesn't give out as much as Joseph!"

Colin Keane won the Flat award for his achievement in landing the jockeys' championship for the first time. The 23-year-old, who received the biggest cheer of the day, rode 100 winners during the year and also bagged his first Group 1 when partnering Laganore to victory in the Premio Lydia Tesio in Rome in October.

"It was cat and mouse the whole way with Pat [Smullen] and it felt good when it became mathematically impossible for him to catch me. I wouldn't have been champion but for the support of Ger Lyons. I owe him an awful lot," Keane said.

Barry O'Neill, who was champion point-to-point rider for the first time, picked up a first award in the point-to-point category.

Down Royal won racecourse of the year which was voted on by members of the Racegoers Consultative Forum. Mike Todd, manager of Down Royal and the track's chairman Jim Nicholson accepted the award.

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