THE Aidan O'Brien-trained Camelot claimed the coveted Horse Of The Year award at yesterday's 10th annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards held at Leopardstown Racecourse.
O'Brien reported his stable star to be in rude health ahead of the winter after a scare at the end of the season when he suffered from colic.
"He had a colic as everyone knows and John Halley and all his team did a tremendous job and he is back cantering and is stronger now than he ever was before," the Ballydoyle trainer revealed.
"It appears he will have done very well (gojng) from three to four (years) and he's obviously an exciting horse for next year."
In relation to future targets for the son of Montjeu, O'Brien added: "We have always felt that his best trip was from a mile to a mile and a quarter so I'd imagine that he will be campaigned around that.
"All being well, he will start off at the Curragh in something like the Mooresbridge Stakes or one of those mile and a quarter races and then come back for the Tattersalls Gold Cup and get a break before Royal Ascot."
O'Brien's son Joseph picked up the Flat accolade for his achievement in becoming champion jockey for the first time, and the first rider to win that title after being champion apprentice the previous year in more than 60 years.
The National Hunt award went to the champion jockey in that sphere as well, as Cork's Davy Russell celebrated being crowned the leading rider for the first time with his first HRI award also.
Perennial champion Derek O'Connor was a nominee for the Point-to-Point category but wasn't accepting the award from Richard Pugh on this occasion. Instead, it went the way of Colman Sweeney, who enjoyed a turbulent return to race riding to partner leading Hunters Chaser Salsify, culminating in success in the Foxhunters' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Ballinrobe Racecourse became the first winner of the new Racecourse Of The Year award and they accepted the accolade with sheer joy and emotion of being recognised for their tireless work in promoting the sport. The Contribution to the Industry award, meanwhile, went to Moyglare Stud who celebrated their 50th year in Maynooth.
The Outstanding Achievement award went to the ever-colourful Peter Casey for the three Grade Ones he won with Flemenstar and he didn't disappoint by sending the crowd into laughter when interviewed by host Ella McSweeney.
Afterwards, he told the Herald: "Flemenstar was bucking and squealing out of him today and he's in great form after the race. He ate up and all and you'd think he didn't have a race."