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O'Brien bags a Lester

Joseph O'Brien was honoured at the Stobart Lesters at a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Thursday night.

The young jockey's ride on Camelot in the Racing Post Trophy was voted International Jockey Ride of the Year, while Cathy Gannon took the prize for the Lady Jockey of the Year award for the second year.

British champion Flat jockey Paul Hanagan picked up the award for Flat Jockey of the Year, as well as Ride of the Year for his effort on the Richard Fahey-trained Barefoot Lady at Newmarket last April.

Tony McCoy made it 17 Lesters after again picking up the Jump Jockey of the Year title.

The Apprentice Jockey of the Year award went to Martin Harley, the winner of the 2011 apprentice championship. The Conditional Jockey of the Year was Sam Twiston-Davies, the current champion conditional.

Jump Ride of the Year was that of Maurice Linehan on Tarvini at Huntingdon in October. Jump Jockey Special Recognition went to JIM Team physiotherapist Anna O'Brien, while the Flat Jockey Special Recognition award was given to recently-retired Philip Robinson.

Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group's chief executive officer, said: "The Lesters are a tremendous celebration of the great achievements of our jockeys, both on the Flat and over Jumps. The jockeys' contribution to the sport of horse racing is hugely valued and we at Stobarts are delighted to play a part in honouring these fine sports men and women."

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: "For jockeys, there is no greater recognition than that of one's peers in the Weighing Room. Every Lester that has been won this year is hugely merited.

"Special mention goes to our Flat champion Paul Hanagan who has won two more Lesters. Paul enjoyed another remarkable year in 2011, winning a tremendously exciting battle for the championship for the second year.

"He is popular in and out of the weighing room and the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues is reflected in his Lesters."


From Belfast Telegraph