Tony McCoy collected two ‘Lesters’ in a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane in London last night.
The champion jockey, from Moneyglass, Co Antrim, was adding two more Lesters — the top awards in racing — to take his tally to 16 after winning the Jump Ride of the Year for his victory on Wichita Lineman at the Cheltenham Festival, while he also picked up another Jump Jockey of the Year honour.
Ryan Moore, McCoy's counterpart on the level, was named Flat Jockey of the Year.
The Shadwell Lesters are decided by a vote among members of the Professional Jockeys Association.
Jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins teamed up for a treble at Leopardstown yesterday with Tarkari, Cadspeed and Citizen Vic all obliging.
At the same meeting, Tranquil Sea boosted his claims for the Ryanair Chase with a tremendous victory in the Newlands Chase.
Edward O'Grady's eight-year-old led after the second-last and pulled clear on the run-in thanks to a good jump at the final fence.
The 4-6 favourite was driven out by Andrew McNamara to hold Natal by two and a half lengths with Snowy Morning half a length back in third.
“It isn't often things go as much to plan as that. Hopefully it's onwards and upwards and I couldn't have asked for more,” said O'Grady. “The owners decided we would be as well off running for 26,000 euro as schooling after racing.
“It was a very delicate balancing act as we wanted a bit of work and wanted to win the race but didn't want him to have a hard race. It worked out well.”
Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney was also delighted with the run of Galway Plate winner Ballyholland, who showed up well for a long way and was not beaten too far in seventh over a trip short of his optimum.
He said: “You'd have to say it was a great run, a perfect sharpener for the Grand National at Aintree.
“I thought he was in with a real chance at the second-last — they just quickened away, but I am absolutely delighted.”
Omagh trainer Mervyn Torrens had a second winner in three days when 9-4 shot Quartetto triumphed in the Beginners Chase at Clonmel yesterday.
Quartetto’s success followed Dancera’s win at Dundalk on Friday.
The two-mile chase proved a dramatic affair as Quartetto found a second wind to deny favourite Darby's Turn in a thriller.
Andrew Lynch seemed to be faring the better on Darby's Turn from some way out as the pair had the race between them and at the second-last it looked as if it was all over.
But Darby's Turn emptied dramatically after the final fence and Quartetto — backed from 11/4 into 9/4 — rallied for Michael Darcy to snatch the spoils by three-quarters of a length.
Torrens had seen his 2-1 favourite Macidoni fall at the last hurdle with a circuit to go in the previous race, and was relieved the long journey from Tyrone was not a wasted one.