ITHRF Awards Night - Sunday 20th November 2016.

The Irish Trotting And Harness Racing Federation held its annual awards night at The Village Inn, Enniskeane and both the 2016 Winter and Summer Racing winners were honoured on the night.

Starting with the Winter season which ran from Drimoleague on St Stephens day 2015 right through to Ballydehob on Easter Sunday 2016 and it was RHYDS PONDER who went through the season unbeaten and included in his wins was The All Ireland road Trotting Championship in Old Chapel Bandon.

This incredible run of victories ensured his Winter Horse of the Year Award for his owners The Forbes Family from Drimoleague.

Deirdre Goggin so often the bridesmaid to her arch rival David Brickley on the tarmac annexed the Jockey of The Year award. This popular Goleen native rode RHYDS PONDER to all his victories and was a popular winner.

Moving on to the Summer Turf season and with the popularity of the French trotters there was for the first time awards for both trotter and pacer of the year.

SUNNYSIDE KILDARE was joint winner of Pacer along with RHYDS DESTINY.

Kildare created history by winning the two big Summer Handicaps firstly the Paddy Connolly Memorial at the Ballabuidhe Festival and later that month capturing The Red John Memorial Handicap at the big two day festival at The Cornfield Oval In Manch.

Rhyds Destiny on the other hand was a model of consistency in The Free For Grade and remains one of the top perfomers on the West Cork circuit.

Trotter of the year went to ROCKY ATOUT who showed his class winning on both clockwise and anti clockwise tracks. This french import is trained by Mike Goggin and was driven in most of his races by Mike Goggin Jnr.

It was a great year for The IB Stables in Baltimore and Tadhg Murphy received trainer of the year. IB COYOTE was the first winner of the Fillies Division of The Vincent Delaney Memorial and is the shining light of the Murphy family. Sunnyside Kildare and Rhyds Heartbeat are other winners who are trained By Tadhg.

Mike Kelleher got the driver of the year award. Along with his own Adagio De Cebe, Panam Colt and Meadowbranch Demon Kelleher is retained driver for the powerful Lakeside Stud in Leap.

Shelley Brickley once again got Turf jockey of the year and it was double celebration for the Brickley family as their RINGO KID was the winner of saddle horse on turf.

THE ITHRF always encourage the younger generation and Ryan Manning and Eoin Murphy were joint winners of apprentice Jockey on Turf while John O' Mahony and Luke Kelleher were winners in the apprentice driver category.

The Winter road racing season is fast approaching with the traditional St Stephens Day Fixture December 26th signals the start of the 2017 season.

By Tim Kelleher.

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