STAFF employed by Jim Bolger, Michael Halford and Kevin Prendergast will share a total of €9,000 as flat category winners of the inaugural Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best turned-out league.

The flat league started at the Curragh on March 21st and concluded at Laytown on November 1st. Each best turned-out winner across participating racecourses was aggregated and the yards were categorised by their number of runners in the season.

With 83 best turned-out horses from 318 runners at the participating tracks, Jim Bolger’s yard won category A.

Staff from Michael Halford’s yard claimed category B with 55 best-turned-out winners from 168 runners.

Kevin Prendergast’s team had 21 best-turned-out winners from 57 runners, to win category C.

John Osborne, equine welfare and bloodstock director at Horse Racing Ireland, said: “We are delighted with the response to the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best turned-out league.

“Stable staff have huge input in the lives of our racehorses which is obvious to all at the races. Those gleaming horses are the result of all the days caring for them in racing yards around the country. We salute and congratulate the efforts of so many dedicated people.”

Care and attention

Ger Flynn, travelling head man for Jim Bolger, said: “I am delighted for all my colleagues who put in all the work and consistently turn out the horses so immaculately. It reflects the care and attention the horses get in the yard, that the public don’t see.

“The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council best-turned out league is a brilliant initiative by HRI and a great goal for yards to aim for. It was great to see the competitive spirit among all the stable staff which raised the best turned-out standards across all racemeetings.”

Nicko Jenjic, travelling head lad for Michael Halford, commented: “Everyone in Copper Beech Stables is thrilled to win our category. We all love working with horses and to see them do well on the track, including winning best turned-out prizes. It’s a real team effort in our yard.”

Kevin Prendergast’s head lad Dessie Cummins and travelling head lad Johnny Sullivan said the staff in Friarstown Stables were delighted with the recognition of their efforts. For over 60 years, the Prendergast yard has a reputation for winning best turned-out prizes.

The National Hunt league for 2021 will conclude at Punchestown on December 31st.

The Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council was created in 2020 to help HRI with the formation of initiatives to enhance the care and welfare of racehorses.