A HEAD GROOM at a Herefordshire stable is in the final round at a national competition.

Eamonn O’Donnabhain is a finalist in the Leadership category in the 2024 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards.

The awards are taking place on Monday (February 26) at Ascot Racecourse and will be attended by HRH The Princess Royal. 

The 18 award finalists will take part in a final round of judging on February 26, with the winners and the overall Employee of the Year announced at the evening ceremony, to be hosted by ITV Racing’s Ed Chamberlin.

Joining Tom Lacey Racing as a work rider in 2018, it was immediately clear that O’Donnabhain was a natural mentor and destined for a senior role. 


Now Head Groom, he is first in and last out of the yard and his love of horses and passion for the highest welfare standards sets a shining example to the team. 

On the rare occasions O’Donnabhain leaves the yard he still helps others - running marathons to raise vital funds for charities. 

Despite the recent heavy rain Hereford Racecourse held their regular fixture last week and one of the standout winners was the Jonjo O’Neill trained winner Soldierofthestorm in Division One of the two-mile three-and-a-half furlong handicap hurdle.

Ridden by Jonjo O’Neill junior Soldierofthestorm was always travelling smoothly in the rain-softened ground and hard though the Sheila Lewis trained Iron D’Dex battled, the eventual winner cruised home to a comfortable three and three-quarter length win.

Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead fielded his first runner at the track in the opening two-mile fillies' juvenile maiden hurdle Emotivo, who was sent off the 11/4 joint favourite with the Nicky Henderson runner Therapist.

But the Irish challenger, despite racing prominently for most of the trip, could never get to grips with the front-running Spiced Rum.

Spiced Rum had been supported in the betting all morning which had seen her price contract from 8/1 down to 4/1 and wearing a first-time hood stayed on resolutely for jockey David Noonan.

The win was a first at the track for over five years for Devon based trainer Stuart Kittow, who is better known as a Flat trainer these days.

Jockey Harrison Beswick, who plies his trade mainly in the United States now, and won the American Grand National last year, was back from a three-month injury layoff and he rode Pebbly New Moon in the three-mile one furlong novice handicap chase.

There was no dream return to race-riding though as Beswick, pulled his tiring mount up three fences from home, in a race won by the Alastair Ralph trained and Alex Edwards ridden Glance From Clover.

Despite a persistent challenge over the final three fences from Barrowmount, Glance From Clover responded steadily for Edwards and they drew away to win by five lengths with Chris Cool a further fifteen lengths back in third place.