Lesters honour Tom O’Ryan with dual successs

Tom O'Ryan.
Tom O'Ryan.
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JOURNALIST, broadcaster and mentor Tom O’Ryan received two posthumous awards at last night’s Stobart Lesters, horse racing’s Oscars.

The 61-year-old, who succumbed to cancer in August, was chosen by both Flat and Jump Jockeys for their respective Special Recognition awards.

His knowledge, dedication and motivational skills helped many young jockeys during their careers.

As a natural horseman who enjoyed a long association with Malton trainer Richard Fahey, he was able to coach them expertly while he became respected throughout the sport as ‘the Voice of the North’.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys’ Association, said: “Jockeys lost one of their greatest friends and supporters, Tom O’Ryan, this year. His contribution was immense. The fact that he was not only nominated by both codes – Flat and Jump Jockeys – for their Special Recognition Lester, but won both as well, speaks volumes of the esteem in which Tom was held.

“It has been the end of a difficult year, with bad news never far away. The loss of Tom, JT McNamara, Mark Birch and Walter Swinburn has hit the weighing room hard, as did the injuries suffered by Freddy Tylicki, who is in everyone’s thoughts as he starts his rehabilitation.”

Flat rider of the year was Jim Crowley, in recognition of him becoming champion jockey, while Richard Johnson took the National Hunt award.