By Simon Jackson at Lingfield Park.
Adam Kirby was crowned champion jockey with 90 wins for the all-weather championship series that ran from October to April, at Lingfield Park’s first turf meeting of the year on Friday.
The award capped a great 12 months for the 25-year-old rider who bagged a brace of Group 1s last summer aboard the Clive-Cox-trained Lethal Force, winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
In other awards for the all-weather series, the trainer of the year prize was won by Mark Johnston with 68 winners, while the leading owner was Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum with 46 victories.
Grandeur was the horse of the year with prize money of just over £150,000 and Alumina was the winning-most horse with six wins. Invincible Spirit bagged the stallion of the year prize with 41 victories.
The All-Weather Championships culminated with a sublime Finals Day that attracted 8,777 spectators to Lingfield Park on Good Friday, a result that delighted Arena Racing Company’s director of PR and communications, Kate Hills.
“We have been delighted with the inaugural All-Weather Championships and these awards highlight the vital role that jockeys, trainers and owners have played throughout the season,” Hills said.
“Adam Kirby has won the title in style and ridden plenty of winners at all four all-weather courses for a host of trainers.
“He has proven once again to be a tremendous flag-bearer for all-weather racing and I am delighted to see such dedication and hard work rewarded.
“Mark Johnston and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum have been key supporters of the All-Weather Championships, while I am very pleased to see the connections of Grandeur and Alumina receive recognition.”
Meanwhile Mick Channon, the Berkshire horse trainer and former England International footballer, hit the target at Lingfield on Friday when his Al Manaal landed the Class 4 Fillies’ handicap.
The ex-Southampton striker, who amassed 46 caps for England in the 1970s, prepared the consistent four-year-old to secure the lion’s share of the £10,000 pot under 3lb claimer Charles Bishop at Lingfield Park’s first turf meeting of 2014.
“She is a nice filly,” Bishop said. “They bought her from the sales at the end of last year. She dug deep for me there today.
“She is the sort of filly that takes a long time to get going, but when she does get going, she sticks her neck out for you,” the delighted jockey said after the 14-1 shot’s head victory over 9-4 favourite Saucy Mix in the seven and a half furlong contest.
“I was confident enough today. She hated the ground up at Doncaster at her last start [when fourth on soft ground]. It was her first run of the season and she ran a little bit fresh up there. But today she settled well.
“She travelled well but then she took a bit of winding up. But when she did she stuck her neck out really well.”
Lingfield are racing again today (Saturday) when they host the Derby Trial meeting that comprises a seven race card that commences at 1.45pm.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.