Lee Mottershead joined select company when he was crowned Racing Writer of the Year for the third time at the 55th annual Derby Awards in London on Monday.
He was presented with the Clive Graham Trophy in front of more than 600 lunch guests at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, in a ceremony organised by the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association and supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Coral and Vertem Asset Management.
Mottershead, who has worked for the Racing Post for 25 years, was also the winner in 2011 and 2019 and joins Alastair Down, Chris McGrath and the late Alan Lee as the only people to land the award more than twice.
His submission was praised by the judges for its “versatility, a well-crafted writing style and an impressive command of his subject matter.”
Fellow Post writer Chris Cook went one better than Mottershead when he was voted Reporter of the Year for the fourth time, though the first since he left the Guardian earlier this year.
Their colleague Patrick McCann topped the poll for Photographer of the Year for the first time, thanks to an entry the judges called “A really well chosen portfolio, hard to fault.”
He is a three-time former winner of the Picture of the Year, which went this time to freelance photographer Francesca Altoft.
Despite saying of his nomination “it comes as a surprise. I’ve been retired for a couple of years but I’ve kept my hand in,” long-serving journalist and broadcaster Ian Carnaby was Specialist Writer of the Year.
At the other end of the age range, Racing TV presenter Jess Stafford received the Alan Lee Trophy for Emerging Talent while the same channel was also recognised when Lydia Hislop was announced as Broadcaster of the Year, for the second time in three years.
The George Ennor Trophy for outstanding achievement went to retired jump jockey Richard Johnson while the President’s Award was given to former BBC Racing stalwart John Hanmer.
Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead took the awards for jump racing professionals, while Godolphin duo William Buck and Charlie Appleby did likewise on the Flat.
Covid-19 meant that last year’s Derby Awards were presented remotely – the winners received a belated accolade on stage on Monday – and HWPA President David Cleary said: “It is tremendous to be able to stage the lunch and the awards after a two-year gap and I must thank all those who made it possible, notably our sponsors the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Coral and Vertem Asset Management.
“It has been a difficult couple of years for many of our members but the aim of these awards is to showcase the very best racing writing, photography and broadcasting and I’m delighted that this year’s winners – and the nominees – really fit that bill.”
Appleby was also presented with his first trainers’ championship trophy on stage, with Great British Racing and the NTF agreeing to use the occasion to make the award.
He is more than £1/2million clear with less than four weeks of the season left and his closest pursuers John and Thady Gosden, Andrew Balding and William Haggas have all conceded him the title.
2021 HWPA Derby Award winners
International Trainer of the Year Charlie Appleby
Picture of the Year Francesca Altoft
The Arabian Racing Achievement Award Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum
John Oaksey Trophy for Racing Reporter of the Year Chris Cook (Racing Post)
Owner of the Year Emma Banks
Flat Jockey of the Year William Buick
HWPA President’s Award John Hanmer
Alan Lee Trophy for Emerging Talent Jess Stafford (Racing TV)
Jump Trainer of the Year Henry De Bromhead
Flat Trainer of the Year Charlie Appleby
Jump Jockey of the Year Rachael Blackmore
Peter O’Sullevan Trophy for Broadcaster of the Year Lydia Hislop (Racing TV)
Specialist Writer of the Year Ian Carnaby
George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement Richard Johnson
Photographer of the Year Patrick McCann (Racing Post)
Clive Graham Trophy for Racing Writer of the Year Lee Mottershead (Racing Post)