Nicky Henderson, Harry Skelton, James Bowen, J P McManus, Native River, Might Bite and Andrew Thornton are among the winners at the second The McCoys.
Founded in 2017, The McCoys are the exciting awards for owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and horses running at all Jockey Club Racecourses.
The qualifying period for the second The McCoys was between May 1, 2017 and April 28, 2018 inclusive.
The awards are named the "The McCoys" after Sir A P McCoy, the record-breaking 20-time Champion Jump Jockey who retired from race riding in April, 2015.
The panel of judges for the 2018 The McCoys comprised Henrietta Knight, trainer of the three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate, Steve Jones, racing correspondent of The Sun, and Cheltenham Racecourse’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse plus Sir A P McCoy.
The McCoys were presented this evening before an audience of 450 in the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Please find details of the winners below.
Leading Owners, Sponsored by Bentley
Four or more horses - J P McManus
J P McManus comfortably landed the Leading Owner award (four or more horses), registering 34 winners at Jockey Club Racecourses, 10 winners clear of his closest pursuer, the partnership of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. He is the most successful owner at The Festival™ presented by Magners, with 54 winners, and has won the Unibet Champion Hurdle a record seven times, including the latest two renewals with Buveur D'Air.
Three or fewer horses - John White & Anne Underhill
John White and Anne Underhill triumphed for owners with three or fewer horses. The partnership enjoyed great success with the Nick Williams-trained Le Rocher (successful at Exeter and Warwick).
Leading Trainers, Sponsored by Beach Independent
More than 40 horses – Nicky Henderson
Nicky Henderson gained the Leading Trainer award for trainers with more than 40 horses, having saddled 68 victors across Jockey Club Racecourse in 2017/18. The Lambourn handler, the most successful British trainer ever at The Festival™ presented by Magners, saw off last year’s winner Paul Nicholls by eight winners. The Lambourn handler now has enjoyed 60 winners at The Festival™ presented by Magners and won the Unibet Champion Hurdle for a record seventh time in 2018 with Buveur D’Air.
Less than 40 horses - Nick Williams
Devon-based Nick Williams took this award (for trainers with less than 40 horses) for the second year in succession. He won a total of 14 races across all Jockey Club Racecourses, two more than his closest rival David Dennis. His winners were headed by Coo Star Sivola in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners, and Agrapart in the G2 galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Leading Jockeys, Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin
Professional – Harry Skelton
A very close race for Leading Jockey (professional) saw Harry Skelton, who has a spectacularly successful partnership with his trainer brother Dan, take the honours with 40 winners, edging out by the narrowest margin Sam Twiston-Davies, who also partnered 40 winners at Jockey Club Racecourses but had less placed mounts.
Conditional Jockey – James Bowen
James Bowen hails from a racing dynasty - his father Peter is a leading Jump trainer, his older brother Sean is a top Jump jockey and another brother Mickey is also a trainer. James Bowen was a riding sensation during the 2017/2018 season, being crowned champion conditional with 58 successes. He was the leading conditional jockey at Jockey Club Racecourses, with 15 wins – three clear of his closest rival Bryony Frost. This is the second award at The McCoys for Bowen after he collected the Pony Racing Achievement of the Season statue last year.
Amateur - Mr Lorcan Williams
Lorcan Williams takes the honours for leading amateur. Williams, who is now a conditional jockey, was champion amateur last season and rode six winners at Jockey Club Racecourses, one clear of Tommie O’Brien and Hugh Nugent. Attached to the powerful Paul Nicholls stable, he is sure to be a name we will hear a lot more from.
Horse of the Season, Novice Hurdler & Hurdler, Sponsored by NAF
Leading Novice Hurdle – Apple’s Shakira
Apple’s Shakira, owned by J P McManus and trained by Nicky Henderson, is the Leading Novice Hurdler following a campaign that saw her win three times at Cheltenham. She kicked off at The November Meeting when successful in the G2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle by 17 lengths, went on to score again at The International in December and in another G2 event on Festival Trials Day in January. She was fourth in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners and finished the campaign by taking third in G1 company at Aintree.
Leading Hurdler – Star Foot
Star Foot was a real star for his owner John Marriott and trainer Jo Davis in the 2017/18 campaign, winning twice at Market Rasen and also at Huntingdon. He narrowly takes the Leading Hurdler award (decided on wins) from dual Unibet Champion Hurdle victor Buveur d'Air, who also won three times, by being placed on one occasion.
Horse of the Season, Novice Chaser & Chaser, Sponsored by UBS
Leading Novice Chaser – Cyrname
A son of top-class two-mile chaser Nickname, Cyrname was a model of consistency throughout last season. Trained by Paul Nicholls for the de la Hey family, Cyrname was successful four times in total, including two G2 successes at Kempton Park. He also performed well on his two attempts in G1 races, finishing second in the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown Park and fourth in the Big Buck's Celebration Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree.
Leading Chaser – Politologue
Politologue, a grey owned by John Hales and trained by Paul Nicholls, took the award for Leading Chaser, with four victories at Jockey Club Racecourses. He began the campaign with three straight successes - in the G2 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, the G1 Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park and the G2 Unibet Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park. After finishing fourth behind the mighty Altior in the G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners, he ended the campaign on a high when landing the G1 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree.
Horse Performance of the Season, Sponsored by Rosconn Group
Native River, Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cheltenham, Friday, March 16, 2018
Native River gained the Horse Performance of the Season Award, having won the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in tremendous style. Owned by Brocade Racing and trained by Colin Tizzard, Native River was one of the leading chasers in the 2016/17 season, when he won the Hennessy Gold Cup and Coral Welsh National before finishing a close third in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Sizing John. During the 2017/18 campaign he was kept fresh for the The Festival™ presented by Magners and was not seen out until winning the G2 Denman Chase at Newbury on February 10. He then headed back to Cheltenham and made all for a gallant four and a half-length victory over Might Bite in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup under regular pilot Richard Johnson.
Pony Racing Achievement of the Season, Sponsored by Winner Events
Oakley Brown hails from the racing centre of Malton in North Yorkshire and has made a huge impact in Pony Racing, winning 20 races in that sphere between 2015 and 2017 and striking up a tremendous partnership with pony White Water. The highlights of the partnership included victory in the 148cm and under Charles Owen Series Finals at Newmarket in October, 2017. Oakley, who has also ridden successfully in point-to-points, partnered his first winner under Rules on the Richard Fahey-trained Third Time Lucky at York on July 27, 2018.
Frequent Runner Award, Sponsored by Equi-Trek
Trainers with less than 40 horses – Jeremy Scott
Trainers with more than 40 horses – Colin Tizzard
The Frequent Runner Championship is aimed at rewarding trainers who run horses regularly at the four Jockey Club Racecourses in the South West Region, namely, Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton.
Judges’ Choice Award, Sponsored by WO Lewis
Owner Michael O’Leary has described Tiger Roll as a “…a little rat of a thing, but he has the heart of a lion”. With three wins in three different races at The Festival™ presented by Magners (the 2014 JCB Triumph Hurdle, the 2017 National Hunt Chase and the 2018 Glenfarclas Cross County Chase), the son of 2007 Derby winner Authorized is one of the most versatile horses seen in recent times. If that was not enough, in 2018 Tiger Roll added the biggest prize of all to his CV – the Randox Health Grand National. Starting at 10/1, the eight-year-old looked set for a comfortable success at Aintree, as he had a six-length lead at the Elbow before facing a sustained challenge from Pleasant Company in the closing stages. He held on for a head success, handing both owner (Gigginstown House Stud) and trainer (Gordon Elliott) a second Grand National success, while it was a first for jockey Davy Russell. One of the most loved Jump horses of recent years, he is a worthy recipient of the Judges’ Choice Award, Sponsored by WO Lewis.
Racing Ride of the Season, Sponsored by Natural Green
Patrick Mullins - Rathvinden - Cheltenham, National Hunt Chase, Tuesday, March 13
Patrick Mullins took the Racing Ride of the season following his never-say-die effort on Rathvinden in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners. Despite a mistake at the 11th fence, he made steady headway to take up the running at the last. Briefly headed on the run-in, Mullins galvanised his mount for another effort to get back up and deny Ms Parfois by half a length.
Horse of the Season, Sponsored by Shloer
Might Bite – Listed 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase, Sandown Park 12/11/17, G1 32Red King George VI Chase, Kempton Par26/12/17 & G1 Betway Bowl, Aintree 12/04/18
Trained by Nicky Henderson for the Knot Again Partnership, Might Bite enjoyed an outstanding season, winning three of his four starts and running another excellent race when runner-up in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. After a facile winning reappearance at Sandown in November, he landed the Boxing Day highlight at Kempton Park, the 32Red King George VI Chase, by a length from Double Shuffle. On the back of that performance, he was sent off the 4/1 favourite for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup but found Native River too strong. There was certainly no disgrace in that defeat and he ended the season on a high when the seven-length winner of the G1 Betway Bowl at Aintree.
Stable Person of the Year, Sponsored by Racing Post
Kate Robinson has been Head Girl to Jamie Snowden since the Lambourn handler first took out his licence in 2008. She is in sole charge of the day-to-day running of the yard, and is an invaluable member of the team. She is a tireless worker, who does not rest until every job is completed. Kate grew up in Cornwall, where she spent most of her childhood with horses, and rode in point-to-points. After graduating from Aberystwyth University with a BSc in Equine Science, Kate spent four seasons as Head Girl on a point-to-point and breaking yard in Warwickshire.
Outstanding Contribution Award, Sponsored by Dodson & Horrell
With a career spanning 28 years and a total of 1,007 winners, Andrew Thornton is a legend of the weighing room. When he began his career, Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister and Peter Scudamore was the reigning champion jockey. Five Prime Ministers later, Andrew Thornton brought down the curtain on his career, aged 45, at Uttoxeter on June 6, 2018, when he was successful on Amirr.
His career included three winners at The Festival™ presented by Magners, headlined by Cool Dawn in the 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup, while the same year he was also successful in what is now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on the outstanding French Holly.
He came close to landing a second Cheltenham Gold Cup on Sir Rembrandt in 2004, when the half-length runner-up to the great Best Mate. He also partnered See More Business to King George success in 1997. Always one of the most popular members of the weighing room, 'Lensio' (he was one of the first jockeys to wear contact lenses) is a most worthy winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award.
The McCoys, founded last year, celebrate outstanding performances at all Jockey Club Jump Racecourses during the 2017/18 season.
Europe's leading horse feed manufacturer Dodson & Horrell is the main event partner of the awards, which reflect on the triumphs and the highlights of last season and exist to recognise the individuals and horses without whom Jump Racing would not prosper.
The success of the first-ever The McCoys, which were limited to the four Jockey Club Racecourses in the South West but now have been expanded to take in all Jockey Club Racecourses over jumps, prompted the wider remit.
The Jockey Club Racecourses that host fixtures over jumps are Aintree, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Exeter, Haydock Park, Huntingdon, Kempton Park, Market Rasen, Sandown Park, Warwick and Wincanton.
Paul Nicholls, J P McManus, Harry Cobden, James Bowen, Many Clouds and Ollie McPhail were among the winners who gained a prestigious McCoy statue 12 months ago.