Ben Curtis Joy at Beverley Top Jockey Award

Jockey Ben Curtis expressed deep pride at having scooped the leading jockeys' award at Beverley this season.

The former Irish champion apprentice rider secured 10 winners from just 42 rides during a fruitful campaign on the Westwood.

Curtis said: "I'm delighted to be top rider at Beverley – it means a lot to me. Beverley is a great track and it's always very challenging to ride there. But I'm very lucky to work for trainers who often specifically target races at the course, and always have their horses fit and well. There are a lot of great jockeys in the north who are always in action at Beverley, so I'm really happy to have had such a good season there."

Now based in Thirsk, the 27-year-old has developed a fine alliance with Malton trainer Brian Ellison, for whom he has this year ridden 25 domestic winners to date. Three of those British victories came at Beverley aboard the Keith Brown-owned Orewa, who has been one of the stars of the season at the East Yorkshire circuit. The two-year-old son of Helmet was sent to the Curragh earlier this month and duly won over 108,000 euro in prize-money by taking first place in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes.

Curtis added: "Orewa had a few issues, but he's very, very talented and has been trained brilliantly by Brian. We gave him a nice little break to have a wind and gelding operation, and that seems to have worked wonders as he was fantastic out in Ireland. It was also great for Keith to have three winners at Beverley as he only lives five minutes away from the track. Hopefully there's a lot more to come from Orewa."

The jockey is currently sidelined with a dislocated wrist and a bad gash to his right palm – an injury which required 44 stitches – after he was unseated from a horse at Thirsk on September 3. Curtis is, however, closing in on a return to action, and could even make a comeback as early as next week. 

He said: "I've a scar that goes three inches up to my wrist, but it's healing up nicely. It got infected once I first left hospital so I had to go back in for another operation. But there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel now and hopefully I can come back next week. I'll see how the movement is, but, with a bit of luck, I could be back in competitive action next Wednesday."

David O'Meara was crowned leading trainer at Beverley after a last-day victory for Mon Beau Visage edged the Upper Helmsley handler narrowly in front of nearest pursuer Richard Fahey.


PRINCE OF LIR - won the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy on May 28. Subsequently claimed gold in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

OREWA - unbeaten in three starts at Beverley. Showed great potential when victorious in a big sales race on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh.

ST MICHEL - hosed up by seven lengths in the 131st Year of the Watt Memorial Handicap on July 17. Later to finish third in the Doncaster Cup.

GARCIA - excelled in the Queen's Own Yeomanry Handicap on April 21. Put that experience to good use with a head triumph in the Silver Bowl at Haydock.

GRIZZEL - Game Hilary Needler Trophy winner on May 28 and has subsequently held her own in Pattern-race company.

THE LAST LION - Runner-up in the Brian Yeardley and the Norfolk Stakes. Now a Listed and Group Three scorer. Last seen finishing second in the Flying Childers at Doncaster.

CASPIAN PRINCE - superb front-running display in the Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes on September 20. Twice a winner of the Epsom "Dash". Rated 107.

CLEM FANDANGO - Hilary Needler runner-up who finished third in both the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury. Easy winner of a Listed race at Ayr on September 16.

ALPHA DELPHINI - dramatic winner of the Listed Beverley Bullet and only just denied by Cotai Glory in a five-furlong Group Three at Newbury on September 17.

LINE OF REASON - won a valuable conditions stakes on June 14 and, in doing so, smashed the five-furlong course record with a one-length defeat of Red Pike.