Tuesday, November 09, 2021
STABLE staff from Kildare’s Michael Halford’s and Kevin Prendergast’s Yards along with Jim Bolger’s yard in County Carlow have been crowned inaugural Flat category winners of the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league. Each yard wins €3000 to be divided among the staff.

Michael Halford with his colleagues Mario Poljack, Robert Gallagher and Nicko Jenjic along with racehorse, Overtake, who have been crowned inaugural Flat category winners of the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league  PHOTO: INPHO

The Flat league which started at the Curragh on 21 March 21 and concluded at Laytown Races on Monday 1 November, saw participating racetracks record their best-turned out winners. Each best-turned-out winner across participating racecourses was aggregated and the yards were categorised by their number of runners in the season.
With 83 best-turned-out horses from 318 runners at the participating tracks, staff from Jim Bolger’s yard, in Coolcullen in Co Carlow, won category A.
Staff from Michael Halford’s yard on the outskirts of Kildare town claimed category B with 55 best-turned-out winners from 168 runners. Kevin Prendergast’s team from his Curragh-based yard had 21 best-turned-out winners from 57 runners, to win category C.

Kildare trainer Kevin Prendergast with his team (L to R) Sean Fitzpatrick, Dessie Cummins, Johnny Sullivan sitting on Miss Cunning, Jessica O’Gorman and Tara McCann who have been crowned inaugural Flat category winners of the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league Photo: INPHO

John Osborne, Equine Welfare & Bloodstock Director at HRI, said: “We are delighted with the response to the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned-out league. Stable staff have huge input in the lives of our racehorses which is obvious to all at the races. Those gleaming horses are the result of all the days caring for them in racing yards around the country. We salute and congratulate the efforts of so many dedicated people.”

Ger Flynn, Travelling Head Man for Jim Bolger, whom we featured in the Kildare Nationalist last year, said: “I am delighted for all my colleagues who put in all the work and consistently turn out the horses so immaculately. It reflects the care and attention the horses get in the yard, that the public don’t see. The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league is a brilliant initiative by HRI and a great goal for yards to aim for. It was great to see the competitive spirit among all the stable staff which raised the best-turned-out standards across all race-meetings.”

Nicko Jenjic, Travelling Head Lad for Michael Halford, commented: “Everyone in Copper Beach Stables is thrilled to win our category in the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league. We all love working with horses and to see them do well on the track, including winning best-turned-out prizes. It’s a real team effort in our yard and on behalf of all my colleagues, I would like to thank HRI and the racecourses for this brilliant competition to recognise the attention we give our horses.”

Head Lad Dessie Cummins and Travelling Head Lad Johnny Sullivan, for Kevin Prendergast, both commented:“The staff in Friarstown Stables are delighted to have received this generous award from HRI in recognition of our efforts in turning out Mr Prendergast’s horses at the races.

“The Boss, throughout his long career spanning over 60 years, has always taken great pride in having his horses look the pick of the parade ring at Irish racecourses and it is great to receive recognition for all our hard work.”The categories are based on the number of runners each yard had during the Flat season.

Racing yard criteria / categories Flat NH
Top 10 yards by number of runners €3,000 €3,000
11th – 25th yards by number of runners €3,000 €3,000
All other yards €3,000 €3,000

The National Hunt league for 2021 will conclude on 31 December at Punchestown.

The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league was established by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to recognise and acknowledge the high standards of care and attention racehorses receive, particularly from stable staff.

The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council (ITWC) was created in 2020 to help HRI with the formation of initiatives to enhance the care and welfare of our horses and it is widely acknowledged that the welfare of our horses and the care for our workforce are closely aligned

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