Top sportswoman honour for leading trainer Joanna

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County Meath trainer Joanna Morgan won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sportswoman Of The Year ceremony in Dublin last week.

Morgan was presented with the award for her exceptional contribution to racing by Tanaiste, Joan Burton.

Joanna Morgan said during racing at Dundalk’s All-Weather track on Friday evening: “I have so much admiration for all the girls and I was honoured to be amongst them.

“I’m really chuffed to win this award. Horses like One Won One have taken me all over the world. He ran for us in Dubai, Hong Kong and America.

“I rode winners on every continent and I feel very lucky.”

Born in the small Welsh town of Crickhowell, Morgan began riding in Ireland aged 21 in 1974, becoming Ireland’s first female professional jockey.

Five years later she became the first woman to ride at Royal Ascot and continued to break down barriers by becoming the first woman to ride in an Irish Classic.

A mother of three, Morgan retired as a jockey in 1997 having ridden more than 200 winners. She is now a widely regarded talented trainer based at Ballivor, County Meath and 35 years after making history as a jockey at Royal Ascot, she trained a winner at the high profile venue with Roca Tumu in the Britannia Stakes.

The high-class horse following his sale is now racing in Hong Kong and trained by Tony Cruz and won a Class 1 race last month at Sha Tin over seven furlongs following twice finishing runner-up and this season has earned connections in excess of HK$ 3.5 million.

Racing at

Down Royal

Down Royal stage racing on Boxing Day with the seven race card having attracted 190 entries.

The hunterchase is one of three chases on the card and with 25 currently engaged including numerous top performers can prove the highlight of the meeting.

Enda Bolger has a trio engaged including On The Fringe – winner of the race last year when beating subsequent Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters winner, the locally trained, Tammys Hill however the Bolger horse had to settle for third at Cheltenham behind the Newry owned and trained runner.

On The Fringe gained compensation when landing the Champion Hunterchase at the Punchestown Festival and following up when winning at Killarney in May.

Mossey Joe is another of the Bolger trio having been bought by owner Barry Connell for £160,000 in January with the major hunterchases as the principal targets.

However, Mossey Joe despite finishing third in the Aintree Foxhunters has failed to live up to expectations and again disappointed on his return to action in a point to point at Ballinabolla last month. Wish Ye Didn’t, like On The Fringe is owned by JP McManus and completes the Bolger challenge.

Ulster trainers are well represented in the contest with the progressive, James trained by Ian Ferguson who has also Walden engaged, Derrylin handler, David Christie is double represented with The Last Derby and The Hard Hat while Crossgar trainer, Colin McBratney has Sole Witness, a points winner last month, entered.

Portadown handler, Stephen McConville has both I Hear A Symphony and Kerrib Castle entered and his son, Michael due to partner one of the pair for his father.

Luska Lad is another owned by Barry Connell and the former track horse is a ten time winner of almost a quarter of a million in prize money and finished runner-up to Oscar Barton last month before winning at the Rockfield point to point.

Gordon Elliott is another doubly represented with Current Exchange and Oscar Barton – the latter meeting with his first defeat this season at Kirkistown having previously won his last four races.

The County Meath trainer landed another major race when winning the £150,000 Ladbrokes Hurdle for the second time with Bayan at Ascot on Saturday past highlighting the form of his team.

However jockey Davy Condon who has had a series of serious injuries and had only returned to riding the previous weekend after a fall in August when it was initially thought he might not ride again was rewarded for his efforts to win with a 15 day riding ban and a fine of £3,150.

The current whip rules appear to be an appeasement to groups who ultimately want racing banned rather than support the horse racing industry and jockeys – the majority of the latter earning a minimal annual reward.

Meanwhile, the Flanagan family from Ballygowan will head to Leopardstown next Saturday with Moscow Mannon which they own and bred entered for the Paddy Power Dial-A-Chase.

The local horse is one of three produced by their mare Unfaithful Thought – all of which have won races but Moscow Mannon trained by Henry De Bromhead faces his biggest test to date over fences but won three bumpers and over hurdles while also finishing fourth in the 2012 Cheltenham Festival bumper.

The Waterford trainer, won the Grade 1 two mile chase last year with his stable star, Sizing Europe but has confirmed the local horse will run in the £100,000 contest.