Johnson among nominees for Lesters awards

Richard Johnson won the jumps jockeys' title after 16 years as runner-up PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Johnson among nominees for Lesters By Tony McFadden 5:44PM 1 DEC 2016

CHAMPION jump jockey Richard Johnson could cap an excellent year by winning the coveted Jump Jockey of the Year award at the prestigious Stobart Lesters, which takes place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, on Thursday, December 22.

Johnson, who was memorably crowned champion jump jockey for the first time in April after finishing runner-up on 16 occasions, has previously taken home the Conditional Jockey of the Year and Jump Ride of the Year awards but has yet to win the Jump Jockey of the Year prize at the event dubbed 'racing's Oscars'. He is nominated along with Aidan Coleman, Noel Fehily and Brian Hughes.

Johnson is also in contention to land the Jump Jockey Special Recognition prize. Jason Maguire, Andrew Thornton and the late Tom O'Ryan – who is also nominated for the equivalent Flat prize – are also in the running.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the PJA, said: "Jockeys live for riding winners and for riding good horses, yet ask any jockey that has won a Lester and they will admit that there is no greater recognition than that of their peers and the public, which is what makes winning a Lester so special.

"It is an achievement in itself to be nominated and we warmly congratulate all of those jockeys who have been shortlisted. It is also poignant that Tom O'Ryan has been nominated for the Special Recognition Award by jockeys of both codes, which is testament to the regard in which he was held."

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Voting for seven of the Lesters awards is by ballot among members of the Professional Jockeys Association. The Flat Ride of the Year has been chosen by readers and users of the Racing Post, who sponsor the prize, while the Jump Ride of the Year, sponsored by At The Races, has been decided by votes on the TV channel's website.

The awards, which are now in its 35th year, will be hosted by Luke Harvey and Oli Bell, both of whom have been signed up to work on the new ITV racing team.

Flat Jockey Special Recognition
George Baker
Connor Beasley
Frankie Dettori
Tom O'Ryan

Conditional Jockey of the Year
Tom Bellamy
Ryan Hatch
Craig Nichol
David Noonan

At The Races Jump Ride of the Year
Ryan Hatch on Millicent Silver at Newton Abbot on 5th April
Colm McCormack on Fiddler's Flight at Sedgefield on 9th February
Jamie Moore on Mountainous at Chepstow on 9th January
Emma Sayer on Silver Shuffle at Aintree on 10th June

Jump Jockey Special Recognition
Richard Johnson
Jason Maguire
Tom O'Ryan
Andrew Thornton

Racing Post Flat Ride of the Year:
Frankie Dettori on Galileo Gold at Royal Ascot on 14th June
Josephine Gordon on Dltripleseven at Lingfield Park on 16th July
Graham Lee on Areen Heart at Beverley on 20th September
Robert Winston on Librisa Breeze at Ascot on 1st October.

Stobart Flat Jockey of the Year
Jim Crowley
Ryan Moore
Paul Mulrennan
Oisin Murphy

Jump Jockey of the Year
Aidan Coleman
Noel Fehily
Brian Hughes
Richard Johnson

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