J.P. McMANUS was honoured for his contribution to the Irish racing industry at this week’s Horse Racing Ireland Awards in Dublin.

Over 250 guests gathered in the Mansion House on Dawson Street for the 20th edition of the awards evening and the first held ‘in person’ since 2019.

McManus tends to avoid awards ceremonies but, a day after enjoying some top-class racing at Fairyhouse, he was on hand with family members to accept the Contribution to the Industry Award.

The 19-times champion National Hunt owner in Ireland, McManus has been a dominant figure in Irish and British jump racing for over 40 years. His famous yellow and green hooped colours have been carried to more than 4,000 wins.

In an interview with host Des Cahill, McManus reflected on some of his best days in racing, including when Istabraq won his third Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2000.


“Istabraq was an unbelievable horse but his story is always tinged with sadness because it was John Durkan who identified the horse and was supposed to train him,” McManus recounted. “John unfortunately took ill and it was he who nominated Aidan O’Brien to train him. So not only did John find me a great horse, he picked me a great trainer as well.”

Minella Times gave McManus a second Grand National win when partnered by Rachael Blackmore to an historic success in 2021 at Aintree. “It was a magical day,” said McManus. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to be there because of Covid. There was a lot of doom and gloom around my house at the time. Everybody was very emotional. To have Rachael ride it, to be the first lady to do it, and to give it such a polished ride, it was so exciting. A day I will never forget.”

Blackmore was among numerous guests in the audience who paid tribute to the owner. She said: “I grew up watching Istabraq. Every jockey loves putting on the green the gold colours, and to ride such a special winner in them was amazing. The name of this award – Contribution to the Industry – is just so fitting. As an industry we are so lucky that racing is that man’s passion.”

Nina Carberry added: “J.P. has been a massive influence in my career. He gave me six of my seven Cheltenham winners, and one the best days I ever had on a racecourse when I won over the Aintree fences on On The Fringe. I’ve made brilliant friendships though him as well, like John Thomas McNamara. J.P. also gave me my first winner as a trainer, leaving a horse with me after my father passed away. He’s a massively loyal man.”

Noel Meade touched on that loyalty too, saying: ““J.P. is known for his hospitality but a lot of people wouldn’t know about his generosity behind the scenes. To the stable staff, to the small trainers he has left horses with, trainer who probably wouldn’t survive without his support.”

HRI chairman Nicky Hartery, who lives in Co Limerick, said: “If you are passing through Limerick, you will see the rugby museum which is being funded by J.P. I was recently in a community centre he funded. A lot goes on around the county, between education and scholarships, funding different projects, the hospital, and what a job has been done on the Adare Manor.

“And above all that he has brought four All-Irelands to Limerick in the past five years. It’s just been phenomenal around Limerick and this is the man who drives an awful lot of the goodness that happens there.”

McManus commented: “This award means a lot to me and I would like to thank the industry for giving it to me. Thank you to my family and the people I am surrounded by – Frank Berry, Charlie Swan, A.P. McCoy, the lads at Martinstown, Johnny O’Brien, the many trainers and stable staff who work tirelessly to ensure this great sport of ours is run smoothly. They often don’t get the credit they deserve but I definitely appreciate all they do. Thank you.”

The award winners

Contribution to the Industry:


Irish Racing Hero: KEVIN MANNING

Horse of the Year: HONEYSUCKLE

Emerging Talent: SAM EWING

National Hunt:


National Hunt Achievement:


Point-to-Point: LIZ LALOR



Ride of the Year: WAYNE LORDAN