The panel was spoilt for choice regarding the nominees for Jockey of the Year sponsored by Cotts Equine. James Bowen rode the winner of the Midlands Grand National, adding to his victory in the Welsh equivalent a year earlier. His brother Sean achieved his breakthrough first Grade 1 win at the Aintree Grand National meeting, on If The Cap Fits in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle. 18-year-old conditional Connor Brace won the Scottish Champion Hurdle on Verdana Blue for Nicky Henderson. David Probert has ridden well over a hundred winners in the last year, earning over £1.2m of prize money, and is on course to beat his personal best for the 2019 calendar year. Adam Wedge has developed an excellent partnership with Evan Williams, the pinnacle being Silver Streak’s third place in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
As regards the nominations for Trainer of the Year sponsored by GAIN Equine Nutrition, Peter Bowen secured almost half a million pounds in prize money, with Lord Napier’s success in a Sandown Grade 3 the stable’s highlight, another being Dr Robin’s four victories. Among 54 winners for David Evans was that of his star performer, the two-year-old filly Good Vibes, in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes. Tim Vaughan had an excellent summer jumping campaign and he also finished the awarding period with 54 winners. Evan Williams earned the most prize money, over £660,000, mainly due to the exploits of Silver Streak in the Champion Hurdle and other top races.
For Owner of the Year sponsored by the ROA, David Brace has been a fantastic supporter of Welsh racing and point-to-pointing and after numerous unsuccessful attempts finally won the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow, a race he has sponsored for many years, with Pink Eyed Pedro. Ronald and Candida Davies own Bungee Jump, who rarely runs a bad race and has won three times at Chepstow this year. All Star Sports and J Davies own Potters Corner, who ironed out jumping problems that caused him to fall in two consecutive races before he took the Midlands Grand National. The Down The Quay Club’s star performer was Tobefair, who came back to form this year with a narrow defeat in the Pertemps Final at the Festival, and has won two Cheltenham staying handicaps since then. Walters Plant Hire earned £189,000 in prize money, notably with Al Dancer winning four races including the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, and William Henry’s triumph in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
The leading flat horse award is sponsored by Floyds Turfcare, Peter Villars and ICL.
The nominees are Bungee Jump, three times a winner at Chepstow; Good Vibes, who was second in the Lowther and won on three occasions, culminating in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes; the consistent Mr Top Hat, who won at the Chester May meeting; and The Daley Express, with two wins and two seconds to his name this year.
The leading hurdler award is also sponsored by Floyds Turfcare, Peter Villars and ICL.
The candidates are Lisnagar Oscar, the winner of two Grade 2 staying novices hurdles before finishing 5th and 3rd in Cheltenham and Aintree Grade 1s; Lord Napier, who won an ultra-competitive Grade 3 handicap at Sandown in February; Silver Streak, who was second in three Graded races before finishing third in the Champion Hurdle; and Tobefair, who came back to form this year with a narrow defeat in the Pertemps Final, and won two Cheltenham staying handicaps since then.
The leading chaser nominations are Drovers Lane (now deceased), who won two decent novice chases en route to finishing 6th and 4th in Cheltenham and Punchestown Grade 1s; Dr Robin, the winner of four handicaps, who rose 23lbs in the handicap; Gone Platinum, who won five races in Wales, going up 29lbs in the ratings; and Potters Corner, the winner of the Midlands Grand National. This award is sponsored by NAF.
The nominations for the other awards are:
Breeder – Sponsored by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association
• Llety Farms
• Oakgrove Stud
• Barry Walters
Rising Star of the Future – Sponsored by Great British Racing
• Ben Jones. (Jockey)
• Charlie Price (Jockey)
• Jack Tudor (Jockey)
• Isabel Williams – (Jockey)
• Imogen Matthias (Jockey)
• Jackie Coonick.- Bernard Llewellyn’s Yard
• Robert Stephens Racing Yard
• Emma Rees – Peter Bowens Yard
• Arabella Tucker – John Flints Yard
• Christina Berry – Grace Harris Yard
There will also be a Lifetime Achievement Award announced on the night (sponsored by Dragon TV and Film Studios).