FOR the second year running, Covid-19 has prevented the Northern Region of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association from presenting their annual awards at a big dinner in a Belfast hotel, but the awards have been delivered to the worthy winners.

One special award yet to be delivered is for Jennifer Pugh (née Kidd), chief medical officer with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. Northern breeders wish to acknowledge the vital role played by the Loughbrickland lady in the resumption and safe continuation of racing since June 2020 after an eight-week stoppage.

The 11-year-old Native River continues to do his breeder - Fred Mackey from Dromore, Co Down - proud and won the Leading National Hunt Horse award. Native River won the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham last January, finished fourth in the Gold Cup, third at Aintree and placed second at Aintree earlier this month.

John (T.J.) Adams bred three-time winner Lady Breffni, winner of the National Hunt Mare award. Trained initially by Joseph O’Brien and latterly by Willie Mullins, Lady Breffni gained blacktype when winning a Grade B handicap hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

Paddy Murray from Co Down is the registered breeder of Santosha, winner of the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot in 2020.

Based in Killyleagh, Co Down, Max Ervine is a regular award winner and he collected two gongs this time around. Max bred Wichita, a leading two-year-old colt of 2019 who went on to place second in the 2000 Guineas last year before suffering a fatal injury in Australia.

Max was also represented on the track by Illegal Smile, a daughter of Camacho he sold for €35,000 at the Orby Sale and who went on to win blacktype in Canada.

Thomas Foy, a retired dairy farmer from Downpatrick, bred the consistent Pogo, winner of the Older Horse award. Trained by Charles Hills, Pogo won a listed race at Leicester in April and was placed in two Group 2 races during the summer.

Award winners 2020-’21

Leading NH Horse

Native River (Indian River - Native Mo)

Bred by Fred Mackey

National Hunt Mare

Lady Breffni (Yeats - Time To Shine)

Bred by T.J. Adams

Leading Two-Year-Old

Santosha (Coulsty - Princess Zoffany)

Bred by Paddy Murray

Leading Three-Year-Old

Wichita (No Nay Never - Lumiere Noire)

Bred by Max Ervine

Older Horse

Pogo (Zebedee - Cute)

Bred by Thomas Foy

Overseas Winner

Illegal Smile (Camacho - Fine If)

Bred by Max Ervine

Special Recognition Award

Dr Jennifer Pugh