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High-flying Hannity lands Jets award

17 November 2015

TONY McCOY yesterday spoke of jockeys’changing attitudes to planning for life after retirement as he presented the Jets Richard Davis Award to Niall Hannity,who has established a career as a jockeys’agent and broadcaster since quitting the saddle ten years ago.

“Jockeys used to be frightened of saying they were thinking about retirement in case people thought their bottle had gone,” said the 20-time champion,who retired in April. “You can’t keep going forever, whatever sport you’re in.However strong-willed you are you can’t have enough support, so jockeys are lucky to have Jets to help them through it.”

Hannity, 35, who rode more than 100 winners in a ten-year career, is now agent to nine Flat jockeys, including Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally, Tony Hamilton and Joe Fanning, as well as being a broadcaster for Racing UK. 

“It can be a scary and lonely time when you stop riding,” Hannity said. “I was sol ucky to find employment in my hobby and this is down in no small part to Jets.” 

The award is named in memory of Richard Davis, who had planned for a future career before a fatal race fall in 1 996. It carries a £3,000 prize to the winner and £500 to two runners-up,Annabelle Armitage, who smashed her leg on the gallops but was inspired by the physiotherapists who treated her to take up a Jets-propelled career in that sphere, and Michael Naughton, who made use of time off with a back injury to undertake IT training that has brought a role developing new technology. 

Scottish National-winning jockey Keith Mercer, in his final year of an accountancy degree, was awarded the IJF progress award, which comes with a £2,000 prize.

 This 20th anniversary of the award was celebrated with a lunch attended by previous winners, who include trainer David O’Meara and Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Mark Bradburne.

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