Trainer Johnston, Jockey Hughes Honored in Britain

The latest in the series of end-of-year awards ceremonies in Britain was held on Monday, Dec. 9, 2002. This time it was the 36th Derby Awards luncheon at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. The awards are voted for by members of the British Horserace Writers and Photographers Association.

Among those taking the honors were Mark Johnston, who was named flat "Trainer of the Year," while Richard Hughes took the title flat "Jockey of the Year."

Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who won his second Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) in Australia with Media Puzzle and also the Matriarch Stakes (gr. I) at Hollywood Park with Dress To Thrill this year, was named as "International Trainer of the Year."

The "Owner of the Year Award" went to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who attended the ceremony, in recognition of the achievements of his record-breaking Rock Of Gibraltar, whom he owns in partnership with John Magnier.

A special award, the "George Ennor Trophy", went Ian Balding, in recognition of his outstanding achievement in racing, which of course included his handling of the great Mill Reef. Balding will retire at the end of the year and hand the license over to his son Andrew.

The Derby Awards are one of the few ceremonies that recognize the part played by stable staff in racing. Awards this year went to Dave Goodwin from Jeremy Noseda's yard and Tom Townsend, who works for Stuart Williams.

Awards were also made to the press, with former jockey Tom O'Ryan taking the "Clive Graham Trophy for Journalist of the Year". O'Ryan works for Britain's only daily trade paper, the Racing Post while the same paper's Edward Whitaker won the "Photographer of the Year Award."

The soon-to-retire Nick Clarke of the International Racing Bureau, who will concentrate on the World Racing Series, was given an award in recognition for his services to international racing.

On the National Hunt front, Henrietta Knight, handler of Best Mate, took the award for national hunt "Trainer of the Year", while the record-breaking Tony McCoy, fresh from finishing third in the BBC's annual "Sports Personality of the Year Award" on Sunday, landed the national hunt "Jockey of the Year Award."