The first South West Jump Awards, called The McCoys, are set for an exciting finish at Warwick Racecourse tomorrow, Thursday, May 25.
The awards celebrate the outstanding contributions from horses, stable staff, trainers, jockeys and owners across for Jockey Club Racecourses in the South West - Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton - during the 2016/17 season.
The winners will be presented by Sir A P McCoy, the legendary 20-time champion Jump jockey who retired in 2015, at a celebration dinner in The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse on September 29.
Heading into the final fixture that counts towards The McCoys, champion jockey Richard Johnson and Noel Fehily are separated by just two winners in the professional jockey standings. Fehily has ridden 26 winners across the four racecourses since September 20, 2016 compared to Johnson's 24.
Johnson has the numerical advantage tomorrow with three rides on Burrows Lane (2.10pm), Imperial Presence (3.20pm) and Big Easy (3.55pm). Fehily's two mounts are Rosetti (2.45pm) and Bronco Billy (5.05pm).
Bryony Frost, Page Fuller and Michael Legg top the the amateur jockey standings with three winners each. Frost has the chance to draw clear tomorrow on the Nicky Martin-trained Alberobello (5.05pm).
Harry Cobden has the conditional rider accolade sewn up following an excellent season. He is sitting on 22 winners, 17 more than his nearest rivals Stan Sheppard and Lizzie Kelly.
The trainer and owner awards are divided into categories depending on the number of horses in training.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is well ahead in the list of trainers with 40 horses or more. The Somerset handler has sent out 48 winners across the four racecourses. His nearest pursuers Harry Fry, Philip Hobbs, Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston-Davies have notched up 17 successes each.
Devon-based Nick Williams (seven winners) currently holds a narrow lead among the trainers with less than 40 horses - his closest pursuers Jeremy Scott and Sue Gardiner have both sent out six winners. Gardner, who is based near Exeter, saddles Doctor Look Here (3.55pm) tomorrow and would win this category if that horse is successful as she has saddled more placed horses than Williams.
J P McManus (20 winners) will be crowned leading owner with four horses or more, with the Simon Munir & Isaac Souede partnership second with seven successes. This award is supported by CHB Global.
The McCoys for Leading Novice Hurdler, Leading Hurdler, Leading Novice Chaser and Leading Chaser are decided on number of victories, with places taken into account in the case of a tie.
Wholestone (Nigel Twiston-Davies) takes the Leading Novice Hurdler award thanks to four wins and two placed efforts. Wholestone started the campaign successfully at Warwick before going on to three further triumphs at Cheltenham during the season.
Sceau Royal (Alan King), owned like Wholestone by Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, shares the Leading Hurdler award with Unison (Jeremy Scott). Both horses have two wins and a second-place finish to their name.
The Gardner-trained Only Gorgeous claims the Leading Novice Chaser with three victories and two placed efforts, while Dance Floor King (Nick Mitchell) edges out Gentleman Jon and Fox Norton for the Leading Chaser award.
An expert panel made up of broadcaster and Cheltenham Racecourse committee member Alice Plunkett, Jockey Club Regional Head of Racing Simon Claisse, Chris Cook, a racing journalist for The Guardian, and Sir A P McCoy, will judge five other awards - Stable Person Of The Year, Natural Green Ride Of The Season, Horse Of The Season, Rosconn Horse Performance Of The Season and Pony Racing Achievement Of The Season.
The winner of the longstanding frequent-runner scheme for trainers at Cheltenham, sponsored by Equitrek and aimed at boosting field sizes, will be presented at the same time as The McCoys on September 29.
Tickets for the champagne reception, three-course celebration dinner and witnessing the presentation of The McCoys cost £80 per person in advance or £750 for a table of 10.