Stars and unsung heroes honoured at Jockey Club awards

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  • The stars and unsung heroes of jump racing have been celebrated at the McCoy Awards.

    More than 350 guests attended the Jockey Club’s annual ceremony, at Cheltenham racecourse on 7 October, to recognise achievements on and off the track. The awards take into account performances from the 2020–21 National Hunt season across all Jockey Club racecourses that host jump racing.

    Harry Skelton was named leading professional jockey with 152 winners. Jack Tudor was crowned leading conditional jockey and Harriet Tucker leading amateur.

    Harry said it was “very special” to have his name on the trophy.

    “I feel very lucky to win such a lovely award,” he said. “I’m really excited for the new campaign, especially as we’ve been quieter than usual over the summer. I’m ready to go now and we’ve got a lot of horses, and the quality is rising all the time, so I’m in a very lucky position.”

    The leading trainer award for those with 40 horses or more went to 11-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls, while his Ladbrokes King George VI Chase winner Frodon was named leading chaser. The leading hurdler was Bannixtown Glory, trained by Donald McCain, and the Nicky Henderson-trained Shiskin was named leading novice chaser.

    Stuart Edmunds took the leading trainer title for 39 horses or fewer. JP McManus took the leading owner title for four horses or more, while the ownership group of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ged Mason and John and Lisa Hales took the honours for three horses or fewer. Jaimie Duff, who works for trainer Lucinda Russell, won the stable person of the year award.

    The remaining awards were decided by a panel of judges comprising ITV Racing lead presenter Ed Chamberlin, Grade One-winning jockey Katie Walsh, the Racing Post’s Chris Cook, Cheltenham racecourse director Zara Tindall, The Jockey Club’s southwest head of racing and Cheltenham clerk of course Simon Claisse, and Sir AP McCoy, who the awards are named after.

    Rachael Blackmore took the “ride of the season” award for her historic win on Minella Times in the Grand National. One of Rachael’s Cheltenham Festival-winning rides, the Willie Mullins-trained Allaho, was awarded horse performance of the season, while the Henry de Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle won horse of the season, having won all 12 of her season starts with Rachael.

    The outstanding contribution award went to four-time champion jockey Richard Johnson, who announced his retirement in April after 3,800 wins. Mr Claisse, who is stepping down after more than 20 years, received the judges’ choice award.

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