On Friday 25th November the who’s who of northern racing came together to celebrate a stellar year of sporting achievements at the ROA Northern Racing Awards. The black-tie event, hosted by Racing Welfare at Newcastle racecourse, celebrated racing successes across the region with Highfield Princess winning the Stud/Breeder Success Story of the Year award for owner/breeder John Fairley, reaffirming her position as this year’s jewel in Northern racing’s crown.
The popular event saw two ROA-sponsored Magic Moment awards being presented on the night; the first going to training duo Charlie and Mark Johnston in recognition of their achieving 5,000 lifetime winners; and the second award going to jockey Brian Hughes for regaining the NH jockeys’ championship in 2021/22. Hughes’ title win in 2019/20 signified the first for a northern-based jockey since Jonjo O’Neill was crowned champion for the 1979/80 season.
Other notable winners on the night included trainer Ann Hamilton, who scooped Best Training Performance of the Season for her win with Tommy’s Oscar in the Grade 2 The New One Unibet Hurdle in January. Michael Dods picked up the equivalent award on the Flat for his victory with Commanche Falls in the Coral Stewards’ Cup in July.
Point-to-point success was also celebrated with recognition for Sine Nomine who finished third in Cheltenham’s NAF Intermediate Point-to-Point Hunters’ Chase in April this year after a prolific 21/22 point-to-point season that saw her win four races. Catterick Bridge’s general manager, Fiona Needham, trains the six-year-old mare for her father Robin Tate and both were there to pick up the award on the night.
In addition to the celebrations, the night was underpinned by fundraising activity for Racing Welfare, the charity that supports all racing’s people. Proceeds from ticket sales and the charity auction will all go to the charity to enable them to support those working in the industry.
Dawn Goodfellow, chief executive of Racing Welfare said: “Thank you to everyone who attended the ROA Northern Racing Awards, and a huge thanks to all our individual sponsors and the ROA for their generous headline sponsorship of the event.
“It is such a pleasure to host events like this, which are so important in bringing together racing’s communities, recognising the fruits of everybody’s labours throughout the year and celebrating success with our peers. Congratulations to all the award winners.”
Magic Moment – sponsored by ROA: Charlie and Mark Johnston (5,000 lifetime winners);
Brian Hughes (regaining the 2021/22 NH Jockeys’ Championship)
Jump Ride of the Season (Professional) – sponsored by Ray Green: Ryan Mania, Midnight Shadow (Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) at Cheltenham)
Flat Ride of the Season (Professional) – sponsored by RaceTech: PJ McDonald, Pyledriver (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (Group 1), Ascot)
Jump Ride of the Season (Conditional and Amateur) – sponsored by John Wade Group: Charlotte Jones, Native Fighter (Burlington Handicap Hurdle, Cartmel)
Flat Ride of the Season (Apprentice and Amateur)- sponsored by Gold and Green Crowd: Becky Smith, Miss Mulligan (Coral ‘Get Closer to the Action’ Ladies Derby Handicap, Epsom)
Best Training Performance of the Season – National Hunt Trainer – sponsored by Sedgefield Racecourse: Ann Hamilton, Tommy’s Oscar (The New One Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2), Haydock Park)
Best Training Performance of the Season – Flat Trainer – sponsored by Gain Equine Nutrition: Michael Dods, Commanche Falls (Coral Stewards’ Cup, Goodwood)
Special Achievement of the Season – National Hunt Owner – sponsored by North Sea Logistics: Geoff and Elspeth Adam, Aye Wright (Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase (Listed), Newcastle)
Special Achievement of the Season – Flat Owner – sponsored by Newcastle Racecourse: The Horse Watchers (Chris Dixon), Raasel (Betfred Nifty Fifty Achilles Stakes (Listed), Haydock Park; Coral Charge (Group 3), Sandown Park)
Point-to-Point Horse of the Year – sponsored by Scottish Racing: Sine Nomine (owned by Robin Tate, trained by Fiona Needham)
Stud/Breeder Success Story of the Year – sponsored by the National Stud: John Fairley (Trainers House Enterprises Ltd), Highfield Princess (Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1), Deauville; Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1), York; Al Basti Equine Dubai Flying Five Stakes (Group 1), The Curragh)