Hosted by Luke Harvey and Hayley Moore, Saturday 22nd December saw the prestigious Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London play host for the first time to the Stobart Lesters 2018, where the country’s leading jockeys were honoured in front of an audience of 380 of their peers, sponsors, guests and public.
Oisin Murphy, fresh from being crowned Stobart Leading Rider for the jockey with the most winners in a calendar year dream season, was recognised by his colleagues as he walked away with the Stobart Flat Jockey of the Year award. This followed a dream season which saw him finish second to Silvestre De Sousa in the Stobart Flat Jockeys Championship on 121 winners and ending the calendar year on 198 domestic winners, comfortably exceeding 200 winners on the year when adding in his overseas victories, including an impressive 9 Group 1 winners.
Richard Johnson received the Stobart Jump Jockey of the Year award for the third successive year after taking his third Stobart Champion Jump Jockey title in a row, which included a memorable victory in the Timico Gold Cup aboard the Colin Tizzard trained Native River.
The youngest of the nominees and current Champion Conditional Jockey James Bowen won not only his first Lester when he was awarded the Racing Excellence Conditional Jockey of the Year but quickly followed it up when presented with the At The Races Jump Ride of the Year award for his ride on Raz de Maree in the Coral Welsh National in January, an award voted for by At The Races viewers and website users.
In only his second season as a professional Jockey, Champion Apprentice Jockey Jason Watson won the Weatherbys Bank Apprentice Jockey of the Year award. This capped a meteoric rise through the ranks, having started the year with just 41 rides and 2 winners yet going on to ride over 100 winners so far in 2018, including a maiden Group 1 success on God Given trained by Luca Cumani in the Premio Lydia Tesio Sisal at Capannelle Racecourse in Italy.
Nicola Currie celebrated riding out her claim and being the most successful lady Jockey this year with 45 wins during the Flat Championship when she was presented with the Great British Racing Lady Jockey of the Year.
Racing Post readers voted for the Flat Ride of the Year which was presented to popular winner Eoin Walsh for his ride on Storm Lightning at Wolverhampton in September.
The most emotional victories came in the All Sport Insurance Flat Jockey Special Recognition and ARC Jump Jockey Special Recognition awards. Both featured an impressive shortlist of Jockeys this year but the chosen winners were recently retired Jockeys George Baker and Andrew Thornton for their outstanding contributions to racing both in and out of the saddle.
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said:
“It was a truly fantastic night and I’m sure all of our winners will treasure their awards. It was fantastic to see our younger members dominate proceedings and the amount of young talent in the weighing room bodes well for the future of the sport.“On behalf of our members I would like to say a very big thank you to all our sponsors, without whom the evening just wouldn’t be possible.”“I know everyone in the room was delighted to see George and Andrew pick up their respective Special Recognition awards. Any of the nominees would have been worthy winners but I doubt anyone would have begrudged the result. Each has given so much to the sport already and will continue to do so, both as PJA Directors and IJF Trustees. It has and continues to be an absolute privilege to work with them.
Full List of Winners at the Stobart Lesters 2018
- Great British Racing Lady Jockey of the Year: Nicola Currie
- Weatherbys Bank Apprentice Jockey of the Year: Jason Watson
- Racing Excellence Conditional Jockey of the Year: James Bowen
- All Sport Insurance Flat Jockey Special Recognition: George Baker
- Racing Post Flat Ride of the Year: Eoin Walsh on Storm Lightning at Wolverhampton on 22nd September
- At The Races Jump Ride of the Year: James Bowen on Raz de Maree at Chepstow on 6th January
- ARC Jump Jockey Special Recognition: Andrew Thornton
- Stobart Flat Jockey of the Year: Oisin Murphy
- Stobart Jump Jockey of the Year: Richard Johnson
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