Grooms’ skill and care celebrated with big cash prizes in new league

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  • A new league with €18,000 (£15,560) prize money has been launched to recognise the hard work and skill that goes into caring for horses.

    The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council’s best turned out league rewards stable staff with cash prizes for the “high standards of care and attention” they consistently show to horses in their charge.

    While turnout prizes are commonplace in racing, this creates a league to further celebrate racing grooms’ hard work across the year.

    The scheme, launched by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), is split by yard size (number of runners) as well as Flat and National Hunt categories, with €3,000 (£2,606) on offer in each section.

    Participating racecourses will record their best turned out winners and HRI will then tally these into league tables. The results will be calculated at the end of the year, with prizes going to the team in the winning yards.

    “The care of our horses is largely in the hands of our stable staff whose work is greatly appreciated,” said HRI equine and bloodstock director John Osborne.

    “The presentation of the horses is really a reflection of all the days spent preparing the horses at home. The best turned out league will particularly highlight the yards which consistently do well even if they are at a numerical disadvantage. The work required is the same, whether the yard is small or large.”

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    Yards can win prizes in both Flat and National Hunt categories, while the specific size category into which a yard fits will be established at year end, when the number of runners is calculated. If there is a tie, the prize will be divided.

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