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The Lesters 2021: William Buick named Flat Jockey of the Year as Harry Skelton takes top Jumps prize

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William Buick and Harry Skelton each claimed a top prize at The Lesters 2021, winning Flat Jockey of the Year and Jump Jockey of the Year, respectively.

Buick enjoyed a career-best season in the saddle last year, with 170 wins from 803 runners, including Group One success with Adayar in the King George and Hurricane Lane in the St Leger.

Buick and Oisin Murphy, who had both been nominated for the award alongside Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand, were engaged in an epic battle for the Flat Jockeys’ Championship, with Murphy coming out on top on the final day at Ascot with two more victories in total.

Buick told Sky Sports Racing: “I feel very grateful and very humbled. Last season was a fantastic season and I was very fortunate to have some great horses as well as all the owners and trainers that supported me.

“It was a busy year, but a good year and we always strive to do better. Hopefully we can keep it going this season.

“What makes this award very special is that it’s voted for by my fellow colleagues. The weighing room is a special place, a tight-knit community. I want to thank them and everyone who supported me.”

Image:
Buick celebrates after riding Yibir to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf race

Skelton claimed his first Jump Jockeys’ Championship last year, beating fellow nominee Brian Hughes – the runaway leader in this season’s table.

In a landmark year, Skelton also surpasses the 1,000-winner mark in October aboard Dorisa Queen for brother and trainer Dan.

Skelton beat Hughes, Sean Bowen and the recently retired Richard Johnson – recipient of the Jump Jockey Special Recognition award – to the top prize.

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Jump Jockey of the Year Harry Skelton says receiving his Lesters trophy is a great honour and reflected on his Championship winning season.

Hollie Doyle collected the Female Jockey of the Year award for the third year running after another record-breaking campaign.

The Sky Sports Racing ambassador broke her own record for the most winners in a calendar year by a female rider for the third time in 2021 with 172 victories.

Doyle’s dominance on the track, which also saw her become the first flat jockey last year to reach the century mark, included a second Group One success on Trueshan in the Goodwood Cup and a second Royal Ascot victory in June.

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Female Jockey of the Year Hollie Doyle admits it will be hard to top her record of 172 winners in 2021 but the Sky Sports Racing ambassador is up to the challenge

Doyle told Sky Sports Racing: “I can’t thank everyone enough who voted for me. It was a fruitful and very productive year.

“I’m in a really good position and riding for plenty of owners and trainers. I’m just thankful for their continual support.

“It’s always going to be hard to beat the year before but I’ll give it a go.”

Hollie DoyleImage:
Doyle landed the Group One Goodwood Cup on Trueshan

Popular riding legend Joe Fanning, 51, received the Flat Jockey Special Recognition honour having landed the biggest victory of his career in the Ascot Gold Cup on Subjectivist.

There was little surprise as Marco Ghiani was named Apprentice Jockey of the Year after his domination of the Champion Apprentice title race, while Danny McMenamin won Conditional Jockey of the Year.

Joe Fanning was an extremely popular winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot this yearImage:
Joe Fanning was an extremely popular winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last year

The Lesters 2021 – winners

Apprentice Jockey of the Year: Marco Ghiani

Conditional Jockey of the Year: Danny McMenamin

Flat Ride of the Year: Ray Dawson (Marshal Dan – Sandown, 10/9/21)

Jump Ride of the Year: Sean Quinlan (For Jim – Hexham, 09/10/21)

Female Jockey of the Year: Hollie Doyle

Flat Jockey Special Recognition: Joe Fanning

Jump Jockey Special Recognition: Richard Johnson

Flat Jockey of the Year: William Buick

Jump Jockey of the Year: Harry Skelton

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