I was quite honoured to receive a special award for having reached my target of 5,000 winners during my career. It is always a privilege to receive the accolade, even though the event took place a couple of months ago.
Congratulations must also to go the new champion jockey, champion trainer and champion apprentice – Gavin Lerena, Sean Tarry and Craig Zackey respectively. All of them have achieved the milestone for the first time after having had a lot of disappointments along the way, so one has to applaud them all for their determination.
During the year people get acknowledged for one item in which they may have performed well but these achievements are gained through a whole year of hard work. Naturally the pressure mounts as the season builds up to its climax and one works especially hard to sustain the effort in order to earn those titles.
From the horse point of view some of the awards were difficult for the panel as it was one of those seasons in which a spread of horses won the Grade 1 races. Some of the results are somewhat controversial because a panel has the decision and some people will disagree with them but no one can deny that Futura earned his title of Horse Of The Year. He won three top Grade 1 races and his record speaks for itself.
Now we are into a new season and a couple of jockeys are already on the travelling van. I have had a couple of winners and I’ll be trying to get as many quality rides as possible without over exerting myself as the wear and tear on the body does not make it any easier.