Honeysuckle may have lost her unbeaten record on Sunday but some consolation for connections came 24 hours later when she was crowned Horse of the Year for a second time.
The Henry De Bromhead-trained star became the first back-to-back winner of the prize when the 20th Horse Racing Ireland annual awards were announced at a ceremony in Dublin on Monday night.
The hugely popular mare, who lost for the first time on her 17th career start when third to Teahupoo in Sunday’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, is the first dual winner since Hurricane Fly in 2011 and 2013.
At Monday’s ceremony, owner JP McManus received a contribution to the industry award while Derby-inning jockey Kevin Manning, who retired in October, got a racing hero prize in recognition of a 40-year career in the saddle.
Henry De Bromhead, whose late son Jack was remembered at the awards, received the National Hunt award after Honeysuckle and A Plus Tard landed the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham festival in March.
Bill Lee, who missed out to Colin Keane after a sustained duel for the jockey’s title, landed the flat award while Wayne Lordan secured the prize for ride of the year after his memorable last to first Irish Cesarewitch success on Waterville.
It was the first time in three years the awards could be held in person and HRI’s chairman, Nicky Hartery, said: “While congratulating all the winners, a special mention goes to JP McManus who has given so much to the racing game and to Kevin Manning who recently retired after a terrific 40-year career.
“Jack De Bromhead was among those who were remembered this evening. He is very much in our thoughts, and I send my very best wishes to his sisters, Mia and Georgia, to his parents Heather and Henry, and to his extended family and friends.”
The 10 HRI award winners:
Contribution to the Industry Award: JP McManus Irish Racing Hero Award: Kevin Manning Horse of the Year: Honeysuckle Emerging Talent: Sam Ewing National Hunt Award: Henry de Bromhead National Hunt Achievement Award: John ‘Shark’ Hanlon Point-To-Point Award: Liz Lalor Flat Award: Billy Lee Flat Achievement Award: Dylan Browne McMonagle Ride of the Year: Wayne Lordan