Alastair Down crowned writer of the year at HWPA Awards lunch

Hayley Turner (c) alongside Jason Weaver (l) and Ed Chamberlin
Hayley Turner (c) alongside Jason Weaver (l) and Ed Chamberlin

Alastair Down was voted Racing Writer of the Year for a record fifth time at the 52nd annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association Derby Awards lunch, held in London and supported by the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club.

Down, now a freelance journalist after many years at the Racing Post, had already won the Clive Graham Trophy in 1994, 1999, 2012 and 2015, and saw off competition from Donn McClean, Chris McGrath and Peter Thomas.

Edward Whitaker, the Racing Post's main photographer, gained his eighth Photographer of the Year title ahead of Francesca Altoft, Alan Crowhurst and Louise Pollard. He was also successful in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The Photographer of the Year accolade, in place since 1997, is judged by a panel of experts, as is the Picture of the Year, which came into existence in 2012.

Whitaker also won the 2018 Picture of the Year award for his depiction of a horse early one morning on Mandown passing the super blue blood moon. This is the first time a photographer has won both prizes in the same year.

There is a new Broadcaster of The Year in former top Flat jockey Jason Weaver, who has been a hit with ITV Racing and still continues his work for At The Races.

Weaver won more votes than ITV Racing front man and Sporting Life columnist Ed Chamberlin, Sporting Life and Racing UK's Lydia Hislop, and seven-time winner Nick Luck. The Broadcaster of the Year was first awarded in 2004 and the 2017 winner, Luke Harvey, hosted Monday's HWPA Derby Awards.

The 2018 President's Award, decided by the HWPA President Marcus Townend, went to record-breaking trainer Mark Johnston and his wife Deidre. Johnston broke the record this summer for the most winners trained in Britain, more than three decades after beginning his career in 1987.

The George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement this year went to Richard Pitman, 75, a highly successful jump jockey before becoming a broadcaster, journalist, author, bloodstock agent and general ambassador for jump racing worldwide.

The International Trainer of the Year award is decided by its sponsor, the International Racing Bureau and was won by Charlie Appleby for the third successive year, this time ahead of Karl Burke, John Gosden and Saeed Bin Suroor.

2018 HWPA Derby Awards winners

International Trainer of the Year - Charlie Appleby

Picture of the Year - Edward Whitaker

Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club ArabianAward - Gary Capewell

Owner of the Year - John Dance

Jump Jockey of the Year - Richard Johnson

John Oaksey Trophy for Racing Reporter of the Year - Bill Barber

Flat Trainer of the Year - John Gosden

Jump Trainer of the Year - Nicky Henderson

George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement - Richard Pitman

Flat Jockey of the Year - Oisin Murphy

Photographer of the Year - Edward Whitaker

Peter O'Sullevan Trophy for Broadcaster of the Year - Jason Weaver

HWPA President's Award - Mark & Deidre Johnston

Clive Graham Trophy for Racing Writer of the Year - Alastair Down

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