Top racing names gather in London to celebrate the year’s successes

The most powerful trainer-jockey combinations in racing’s summer and winter disciplines galloped off with the Derby Awards at the annual Horserace Writers’ Lunch in London this week.

Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien and Mick Kinane were voted flat Trainer and Jockey of the Year, while Martin Pipe and A P McCoy collected the equivalent prizes over jumps.

Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier, the partnership behind O’Brien and Kinane, were named top owners, thus completing a clean sweep for the Ballydoyle team.

Pipe was present to receive his award, but McCoy, who was busy at Folkestone riding his175th winner of the season, left his personal assistant Gee Armytage to do the honours in his absence.

There was a standing ovation when Joan Rock, supported by Sir Mark Prescott, stepped up to receive the posthumous award given to her husband, the late Graham Rock, who was racing correspondent of the Observer and BBC television’s paddock commentator.

Rock, who died last month after a four-year fight against cancer, was the winner of the George Ennor Trophy for a lifetime’s achievement in racing.

Jockey John Reid, who retired this year, received the President’s Trophy for services to racing. The award for Stable Staff of the Year went to Sir Michael Stoute’s travelling head lad Jimmy Scott and Peter Maughan and Rodney Boult, both from the David Elsworth yard.

The Journalist of the Year Award went to The Times’s energetic Alan Lee, who was formerly cricket correspondent of the same paper. Anne Grossick, from Scotland, was Racing Photographer of theYear.