Records broken at 2018 QREC HWPA Derby Awards

Alastair Down has been voted Racing Writer of the Year for a record fifth time and received his award at the 52nd annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association (HWPA) Derby Awards Lunch, held in London today, Monday, December 3 and supported by the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC).

Down, now a freelance journalist after many years at the Racing Post, had already won the Clive Graham Trophy in 1994, when with The Sporting Life, 1999, 2012 and 2015.

He has pulled clear from the late Alan Lee and the 2017 winner Chris McGrath, who have been Racing Writer of the Year three times.

Down gained more votes among the HWPA membership than the other nominees this year – Donn McClean, McGrath and Peter Thomas.

Another record-breaker is Edward Whitaker, the Racing Post’s main photographer who gained his eighth Photographer of the Year title ahead of Francesca Altoft, Alan Crowhurst and Louise Pollard.

He was also successful in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2016, with Dan Abraham, a four-time Photographer of the Year, leading the chasing pack.

The Photographer of the Year accolade, in place since 1997, is judged by a panel of experts, as is the Picture of the Year, which came into existence in 2012.

Whitaker, in another first, has also won the 2018 Picture of the Year award for his depiction of a horse early one morning on Mandown passing the super blue blood moon. This is the first time a photographer has won both prizes in the same year.

Whitaker triumphed over Simon Cooper, Steve Davies, John Hoy and Pollard.

Bryony Frost presenting Edward Whitaker with Picture of the Year
The HWPA Derby Awards 3.12.18
Pic Dan

Another Racing Post employee, Bill Barber, the daily paper’s industry editor, is the 2018 Racing Reporter of the Year. He receives the John Oaksey Trophy.

He received more votes than colleague David Carr, dual winner Chris Cook and Mark Souster for the award which commenced in 2012.

There was also a new Broadcaster of The Year in former top flat jockey Jason Weaver, who has been a hit with ITV Racing and still continues his work for At The Races.

Weaver won more votes than ITV Racing front man Ed Chamberlin, Racing UK’s Lydia Hislop and seven-time success Nick Luck. The Broadcaster of the Year was first awarded in 2004 and the 2017 winner, Luke Harvey, hosted today’s HWPA Derby Awards.

The 2018 President’s Award, decided by the HWPA President Marcus Townend, went to record-breaking trainer Mark Johnston and his wife Deidre. Johnston broke the record this summer for the most winners trained in Britain, after starting out in 1987.

The George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement this year went to Richard Pitman, 75, a highly successful jump jockey before becoming a broadcaster, journalist, author, bloodstock agent and general ambassador for jump racing worldwide.

Voting by the HWPA members decided the following Awards:-

Owner of the Year

John Dance – other nominees Godolphin, Bjorn Nielsen & Qatar Racing

Flat Trainer of the Year

John Gosden – other nominees Charlie Appleby, Karl Burke and Mark Johnston

Flat Jockey of the Year

Oisin Murphy – other nominees James Doyle, Silvestre de Sousa and Jason Watson

Jump Jockey of the Year

Richard Johnson – other nominees Bryony Frost, Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton

Jump Trainer of the Year

Nicky Henderson – other nominees Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins and Colin Tizzard

The International Trainer of the Year award is decided by its sponsor, the International Racing Bureau and was won by Charlie Appleby for the third successive year, ahead of Karl Burke, John Gosden and Saeed Bin Suroor.

Finally the QREC Arabian Racing Award went to commentator Gary Capewell. The other nominees were trainer Philip Collington, jockey Joanna Mason and owner/breeders Jennifer & Herbie Owen.

This is the sixth and final year of QREC’s sponsorship of the HWPA Derby Awards and Townend praised their generous support.

Nearly 600 people attended today’s 52nd HWPA Derby Awards which were held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, UK.

Details of the 2018 HWPA Derby Awards

International Trainer of the Year – Charlie Appleby

Picture of the Year – Edward Whitaker

Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Arabian Award – Gary Capewell

Owner of the Year – John Dance

Jump Jockey of the Year – Richard Johnson

John Oaksey Trophy for Racing Reporter of the Year – Bill Barber

Flat Trainer of the Year – John Gosden

Jump Trainer of the Year – Nicky Henderson

George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement – Richard Pitman

Flat Jockey of the Year – Oisin Murphy

Photographer of the Year – Edward Whitaker

Peter O’Sullevan Trophy for Broadcaster of the Year – Jason Weaver

HWPA President’s Award – Mark & Deidre Johnston

Clive Graham Trophy for Racing Writer of the Year – Alastair Down