End of Newbury's jump racing season marked with popular prizes
The second day of Newbury Racecourse's final meeting of their jump season - a meeting sponsored by Be Wiser Insurance - saw an innovation to celebrate the season's stars with a series of prizes named The Newburys.
Prizes went to the racecourse's leading trainer, jockey, owner and conditional jockey of the jump season. There was also a People's Choice prize for the 'Moment of the Season' - voted for by more than a thousand race-goers. A final prize went to the yard whose horses had won the most 'Best Turned Out' awards over the season.
He calls Newbury his 'home racecourse' and during the jumps season had twelve wins, eight seconds and three thirds - with a strike rate of 26 per cent.It was no surprise that Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson won the leading trainer award.
Henderson's stable jockey Nico de Boinville was declared the Leading Jockey with thirteen wins, two seconds and four thirds - a strike rate of 44 per cent.
The owner of the season was decided on Saturday and went to Grech and Parkin with three wins and two fourths. They have most of their horses with Nicky Henderson. They include Mr Whipped, Kupatana and Lough Derg Spirit.
By Saturday morning the contest for leading Conditional Jockey was tied between Byrony Frost (who rides mainly for Paul Nicholls) and James Bowen (who rides mainly for Nicky Henderson).
Bryony Frost had ridden on the Friday of the meeting and brought Moabit home in third place in the Be Wiser Insurance Handicap Hurdle over two miles.
On Saturday James Bowen rode the Queen's five year-old Sunshade in the £40,000 EBF and TBA Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Finale over two and a half miles - but could only make ninth place.
So the prize went to Bryony Frost - another celebration of her fantastic season. It remains to be seen whether she will get a ride in the Grand National on Milansbar - trained near Barbury Castle by Neil King.
The 'Moment of the Season' award went to Naunton trainer Fergal O'Brien - celebrating his horse Poetic Rhythm's win in the Betfred Challow Hurdle to give O'Brien his first success in a Grade One race.
Accepting the prize - which included a large bag of carrots for Poetic Rhythm and a cake for the team - Fergal O'Brien did admit his use of social media had probably swung the vote his way. He said he had not voted for himself but for Kalashnikov who won the Betfair Hurdle in very testing ground for trainer Amy Murphy.
The season's Brest Turned Out Trophy, which was sponsored by the West Berkshire Racing Club, went to Oliver Sherwood's Rhonehurst yard. Over the season, his grooms won an impressive eight Best Turned Out awards for horses in Newbury's parade ring.