Hats off to Mikey Pender this weekend as he and Irish Sport Horse HHS Calais continued their run of global success to win Sunday’s three-star 1.50m Grand Prix at Vilamoura in Portugal. Pender and the Hughes Horse Stud-owned 12-year-old by Cavalier Royale out of MHS OBOS Cruise adds to successes at five-star level in Riyhad, Saudi Arabia and Valkenswaard.


Awards season has brightened up January, and our magnificent pony riders including our FEI European Pony Championship winners were celebrated in style in Mullingar last week. Over 600 guests partied the night away at the National Pony Awards. On Saturday night in Co Tyrone, the Ulster Region Horse Awards were held at a packed Corrick House Hotel to celebrate some more incredible equestrian achievements.

I was lucky enough to attend the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association National Breeding and Racing Awards at The Heritage Hotel, Co Laois on Saturday. Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) Charlie McConalogue was guest of honour, and acknowledged the outstanding achievements of Irish breeders and Irish-bred horses both Flat and National Hunt during 2022.

Award winners

MV Magnier of Coolmore presented the award to Moyglare Stud Farms’ Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner who accepted the awards for Stayer of the Year Kyprios and also Homeless Songs, three-year-old Filly of the Year. Princess Zahra Aga Khan accepted the award for Tahiyra, two-year-old Filly of the Year presented by Jimmy Hyland on behalf of sponsor Darley. John O’Connor, Ballylinch Stud was on hand to present the Small Breeder Award to Tom Lacy.

William Flood was inducted into the ITBA Hall of Fame for a lifetime’s dedication to National Hunt breeding in particular. Other deserving award winners included David and Ann Hanley, who were given a standing ovation by the crowd as recipients of the Wild Geese Award. The Next Generation Award was presented to Michéal Conaghan, a promising industry leader of the future. With over 320 people in attendance and hosted by The Irish Field’s, Leo Powell, it was truly an unforgettable night.


As the breeding season ramps up, Horse Sport Ireland have reminded breeders to test their breeding stock for Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM), a venereal disease caused by the bacteria, Taylorella equigenitali, Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) and EIA Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA). These diseases are notifiable to DAFM.

The Irish Equine Centre have detected three cases of Klebsiella pneumoniae capsule Type 5 in routine CEM samples since January 1st. This is more cases than they have detected over the past five years in total. This bacterium is a cause of metritis in the mare and can be transmitted between horses at covering. It is recommend that all breeding stock should be screened for this and all other notifiable venereal disease in advance of breeding.