Chris McGrath was announced as Racing Writer of the Year at the 51st annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association (HWPA) Derby Awards Lunch, held in London today, Monday, December 4 and supported by the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club.
McGrath won the Clive Graham Trophy for a third time, the first two when writing for The Independent in 2007 and 2013, while this year’s award came for his work as Bloodstock Editor of the Racing Post.
He gained a higher number of votes among the HWPA membership than any of the three other nominees, Racing Post columnist Peter Thomas, the 2016 winner Tom Kerr (Racing Post) and Emma Berry, the European Editor of Thoroughbred Daily News. Alastair Down holds the record for the number of wins as Racing Writer of the Year (four).
The Peter O’Sullevan Trophy for Broadcaster of the Year, founded in 2004, went to Luke Harvey, who works for ITV Racing and At The Races among others, for the first time. He polled the highest number of votes among nominees who also included ITV Racing colleagues Ed Chamberlin and Oli Bell plus Racing UK’s Lydia Hislop.
The second award for a journalist, the John Oaksey Trophy for the Racing Reporter of the Year which is in its sixth year, also had a strong set of nominations – The Guardian’s Chris Cook (winner in 2012 & 2014), Marcus Armytage of The Daily Telegraph and two from the Racing Post, Industry Editor Bill Barber and reporter David Carr. The Racing Reporter award went to Armytage for the first time following voting by members of the HWPA on the submitted articles.
The Photographer of the Year award, founded in 1997 and judged by a three-strong panel, was won for the fourth time by Dan Abraham, freelance photographer with focusonracing.com, whose previous successes came in 2004, 2010 and 2015.
His portfolio of photos was judged best of the four nominees who also included dual winner Alan Crowhurst, who is the Getty Images racing photographer, Patrick McCann, the Racing Post’s Irish photographer, and freelance Steven Cargill.
The Picture of the Year award, inaugurated in 2012, went to first-time nominee Megan Ridgwell of Megan Rose Photography, with her winning photo depicting a sunset and a race at Chelmsford City Racecourse.
She triumphed from powerful opposition in the shape of dual winner McCann, Edward Whitaker, record seven-time Photographer of the Year for the Racing Post, and freelance Bill Selwyn, winner of the Photographer of the Year in 2005.
The separate Jump and Flat awards for Trainer of the Year and Jockey of the Year at the HWPA Derby Awards, amalgamated into Trainer of the Year and Jockey of the Year in 2012, were reinstated this year.
Last year’s Trainer of the Year Aidan O’Brien was voted HWPA Flat Trainer of the Year after a record-breaking 2017 season, with the other nominees being John Gosden, Clive Cox and Karl Burke. He also won the Flat Trainer of the Year award in 2001.
Frankie Dettori enjoyed a tremendous 2017 and the Jockey of the Year in 2015 gained the 2017 Flat Jockey of the Year ahead of Silvestre de Sousa, P J McDonald and Ryan Moore. Dettori has won the Flat Jockey of the Year five times before (1990, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2004).
Colin Tizzard was voted Jump Trainer of the Year from Jessie Harrington, Nicky Henderson and Lucinda Russell, while champion jockey Richard Johnson triumphed as Jump Jockey of the Year over Noel Fehily, Brian Hughes and Robbie Power.
Prince Khalid Abdullah, who had the 2017 Horse of the Year Enable, became the Owner of the Year for the sixth time (previously 1986, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014). The other nominees were Bill Gredley, Ann & Alan Potts and the Two Golf Widows.
Charlie Appleby, for the second year in succession, is the International Trainer of the Year, an award decided by the International Racing Bureau. The Godolphin trainer won ahead of Karl Burke, Roger Charlton and John Gosden.
Seamus Buckley gained the George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement, for his tremendous work as Goodwood’s Clerk of the Course after retiring recently.
The HWPA President’s Award went to David Elsworth, whose training career started in 1978 and shows no signs of stopping just yet.
The Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Arabian award, to recognise outstanding achievement in Arabian racing, was won by The Royal Cavalry of Oman, owners and sponsors. The other nominees were jockey Ellie MacKenzie, owner/breeder Heather Phillpott and trainer James Owen.
Over 560 people attended the 51st annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association Derby Awards Lunch which took place at the Lancaster London this afternoon (Monday, December 4) and was supported by the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club for a fifth consecutive year.
Details of the 2017 HWPA Derby Awards
International Trainer of the Year – Charlie Appleby
Picture of the Year – Megan Ridgwell
Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Arabian Award – The Royal Cavalry of Oman
Owner of the Year – Khalid Abdullah
Jump Jockey of the Year – Richard Johnson
John Oaksey Trophy for Racing Reporter of the Year – Marcus Armytage
Flat Trainer of the Year – Aidan O’Brien
Jump Trainer of the Year – Colin Tizzard
George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement – Seamus Buckley
Flat Jockey of the Year – Frankie Dettori
Photographer of the Year – Dan Abraham
Peter O’Sullevan Trophy for Broadcaster of the Year – Luke Harvey
HWPA President’s Award – David Elsworth
Clive Graham Trophy for Racing Writer of the Year – Chris McGrath