Sandra Hughes
Image supplied by HRI; copyright Patrick McCann

The Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards today announced former racehorse trainer, Sandra Hughes as their Ambassador for the 2018 awards.

Sandra’s role is to encourage as many nominations as possible during the six-week nomination period. She will be visiting racing yards and stud farms and attending race meetings, bloodstock sales and the ITBA Expo.

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Irish Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards and can be made online at The awards encompass 10 categories, which carry total prizemoney of €84,000, an increase of €4,500 from 2017.

Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards in association with the Irish Stablestaff Association, the Racing Post and Horse Racing Ireland. Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in America, Australia, Britain and France.

The 2018 awards will take place in the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, County Meath on Monday, May 21st.

The Racing and Breeding Support Services Award now allows for three finalists, with a trophy and €5,000 for the winner. The two runners-up will each receive €1,000.

In addition to nominating online, every trainer, breeder and point-to-point handler will receive a nomination form by post. Nomination forms are also available from Horse Racing Ireland’s head office in Ballymany in Newbridge. Bernard Caldwell from the Irish Stablestaff Association (ISSA) and his colleagues will be distributing nomination forms at upcoming race meetings. The nomination form is also available to download from the website.

Nominations are open until Monday, February 19th and must be completed online or returned to the Marketing Department in Horse Racing Ireland by 5pm that day.

Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor, Charities, for Godolphin, said: “Godolphin is delighted that Sandra has agreed to act as Ambassador for this year’s Stud and Stable Staff Awards.  Her profile and industry knowledge will help grow the number of nominations and ensure that the hardworking men and women in our industry get the recognition they deserve.”

Bernard Caldwell, Irish Stable Staff Association Chairman, said: “The Irish Stablestaff Association would like to thank Godolphin for the further increase in prizemoney for 2018. It reaffirms Godolphin’s wonderful commitment to our stud and stable staff. Sandra is a great addition to the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards and I’ve no doubt she will be very successful in her role. I would encourage as many trainers, breeders, owners and managers to nominate their colleagues in order to recognise the great employees we have in our industry.”

Commenting on her ambassador role, Sandra Hughes, said: “I am hugely honoured to be appointed by Godolphin as their ambassador for the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards and I’m really looking forward to getting out on the road to meet as many trainers and breeders as possible. Godolphin’s incredibly generous sponsorship is a wonderful recognition of all stud and stable staff who are the backbone of the industry.”