A Laois horse racing trainer was the winner of a prestigious award at a virtual ceremony last night.
Portarlington based Kieran Cotter was deemed a winner at The Curragh 2020 Awards in the Training Performance category.
Kieran’s handling of A Step Too Far was one of the stories of the season, the four-year-old winning a remarkable six handicap races in-a-row.
And it was for her success that Kieran fought off big names like Aidan O’Brien, Dermot Weld, Jessica Harrington and Johnny Murtagh to be named the winner.
The horse itself has further Laois connections as the filly is owned by Sinead and Dermot Dunne – who also hail from Portarlington.
The award caps a remarkable year for Cotter as his yard, which has just 18 horses, saw 17 victories in 2020 – with still a month of the year to go.
Joining the ceremony via video link, an overwhelmed Cotter thanked everyone who had helped to make the story of A Step Too Far a successful one.
He said: “I’m hugely honoured and flattered – almost embarrassed to win this award – such was the company that I was up against.
“But this award is not for me – it is for everyone here in Clonanny.
“I would like to thank all who have supported me on this journey. My parents, my wife Deirdre and my children who help out regularly.
“And of course the indominable Danny Murphy who joined forces with me two years ago now. The energy, enthusiasm and commitment that he brings to the yard is greatly appreciated and we are getting just rewards now for all that work.
“I’d also like to thank Adriano, Fagner and Robbie Burke for the commitment that they show to strive to make this yard a better place.
“Dermot and Sinead Dunne, the owners, kindly entrusted us with their filly and they continued to have fate in us.
“A Step Too Far has been a shining light on what has been a bleak year with Covid and for us it has been nothing but one long happy journey.
“I’d finally like to thank The Curragh. We are big supporters of it, it is our local track and it has world class facilities.
“And I just hope that in 2021 or when Covid ends, crowds will be able to return their again.”