Billy Lee was the man in form at Dundalk on Friday night where he shared three winners with three different trainers.
He brought the Andy Oliver-trained Apricot Moon from the widest stall and from well off the pace to win the 8f fillies’ maiden but had an easier time of it on the Henry De Bromhead-trained 2/1 favourite Royal highness which won the 7f maiden by three lengths. The treble was completed when the David Marnane-trained Alfredo Arcano won the 6f handicap, making the most of a favourable low draw to score by half a length from Michael Halford’s Arcanears.
Lee capped a magnificent year when his winning ride on Space Traveller at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend was voted the Ride of the Year at the annual Horse Racing Ireland awards on Tuesday evening. While nominated by Pat Smullen and Barry Geraghty, the winner of the Ride of the Year Award is determined by a public vote.
Lee’s effort in bringing the Richard Fahey-trained three-year-old from well off the pace to win the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes in September was the public’s favourite and saw him top the poll from fellow nominees Mark Walsh, Padraig Beggy, Ruby Walsh, Robbie Power and Donnacha O’Brien.
The winners in 11 categories were announced at a ceremony which was attended by many of the industry’s leading figures. Guest of honour was Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD and those in attendance were welcomed by Chairman of HRI, Nicky Hartery.
Naas – Monday, December 16 (First Race 12.20)
Dundalk – Wednesday, December 18 (First Race 5.00)
Dundalk – Friday, December 20 (First Race 5.15)
Thurles – Saturday, December 21 (First Race 12.10)