TATTERSALLS auctioneer Todd Watt was the recipient of the Special Recognition Award at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's 2020 National Breeding and Racing Awards on Saturday evening.
This year's awards ceremony was staged online and saw 14 awards presented, with special videos recorded with many of the winners.
Highlight of the evening were the tributes paid by 15 friends and colleagues of Todd Watt to the auctioneer who has been in poor health recently.
Hosted by Leo Powell, Editor of The Irish Field, the awards ceremony commenced with an address by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who acknowledged the success of the Irish thoroughbred industry.
This year's Hall of Fame inductee is the Irish National Stud. The award was presented "in recognition of the Irish National Stud’s invaluable contribution to the Irish thoroughbred industry over many decades and for the contribution it continues to make; from the stallions it stands, to the world-renowned thoroughbred breeding course and the impact the stud makes as a national tourist attraction."
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue accepted the award on behalf of the stud.
The Wild Geese Award went to the Gordon Cunningham of Curragmore Stud in New Zealand.
Gordon has flown the Irish flag with great pride for over two decades in the southern hemisphere. He has taken the time to welcome and nurture many young and emerging Irish breeders who made their way to New Zealand.
ITBA chairman John McEnery said: “Despite all the many challenges facing the industry in 2020, Irish breeders and Irish-bred horses continued to excel on both the national and international stage.
"We are indebted to our loyal sponsors without whom we would be unable to stage these awards.
"We were delighted with the level of participation and engagement by the many viewers, who tuned in from all corners of the bloodstock world via social media to acknowledge the wonderful people and horses who made 2020 such a memorable year for the Irish thoroughbred breeding industry."
FULL LIST OF THE AWARD WINNERS
Next Generation: CLARE MANNING
Novice Hurdler of the Year: SHISHKIN
Breeder: CJ & EB Bennett
Novice Chaser of the Year: CHAMP
Breeder: Philip & Jane Myerscough
Hurdler of the Year: PAISLEY PARK
Breeder: Michael Conaghan
Chaser of the Year: ALTIOR
Breeder: Paddy Behan
Breeder of the Year: RINGFORT STUD
Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year: AUNT PEARL
Breeder: Ecurie Des Charmes & Ballylinch Stud
Two-Year-Old Colt of the Year: SUPREMACY
Breeder: Kangyu International Racing
Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year: LOVE
Three-Year-Old Colt of the Year: PINATUBO
Older Horse of the Year: GHAIYYATH
Breeder: Springbank Way Stud
Wild Geese Award: GORDON CUNNINGHAM
Special Recognition Award: TODD WATT
Hall of Fame 2020: IRISH NATIONAL STUD
EIGHT-PAGE ITBA BREEDERS' UPDATE IN THE IRISH FIELD NEX WEEKEND