The 17th annual Martin Wills Memorial Trust Awards, for creative writing (fact or fiction) on, or with a background in, any aspect of horseracing, by a young person resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, have attracted 169 entries – 64 in the under 26 category, 44 in the under 19 category, and 61 in the under 15 category – easily a record.
The under 26 runner-up is 21 year old Cathal Dennehy from Limerick. He is studying for a Masters in Film and TV Studies at Dublin City University, having already obtained a BA in Journalism from that establishment. He has represented Ireland in the under 20 and under 23 categories for cross-country running. He receives £750 for his article, “Novice Chaser”, about introducing a friend to racing and betting.
The under 19 winner is 17 year old Jack Cantillon from Johnstown, near Naas in Co. Kildare, where his family is involved in Thoroughbred racing and breeding. He is at Newbridge College in Co.Kildare (as was last year’s under 19 winner, James Moloney-Quinn), studying for his 2010 Leaving Certificate. Thereafter, he hopes to read Business and Law at Trinity College, Dublin. He receives £500 for his article “Tips Today, Exams Tomorrow”, about a student’s quest to place a bet during his mock exams.
The under 19 runner-up is 17 year old Morgan Curtis from London. She attends St Paul’s Girls’ School in London, where she is taking AS levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Geography. She receives £250 for her article “Clearing Skies”, about the eventual triumph of a veteran lady owner/trainer.
The under 15 winner is Tom McKenna from Liverpool, who was aged 14 at the qualifying date (1 January 2009) and is a pupil at Liverpool Blue Coat School. He receives £250 for his article “The March Meeting”, about the essence, thrill and beauty of horse-racing.
The under 15 runner-up is 14 year old Theodora Murray-Jones from London, who is also a pupil at St Paul’s Girls’ School. She receives £125 for her article “St Petersburg Passion”, about how a trip to the races secures a girl’s passage to Russia.
A selection of winning articles will be published, in the next few weeks, in the Racing Post and The Irish Field. At least some of the winners will also have the opportunity of work experience at the Racing Post.
Lucy Eddis, from Little Horkesley, near Colchester in Essex, aged 10, who attends Littlegarth Preparatory School in Great Horkesley, was highly commended for her article “If Only It Were a Typical Day” about a family’s day’s racing at Kempton. She and her pony, Bradmore Raindance, won the Mini Working Hunter Pony Championship at the British Show Pony Society Heritage Championships last October.
The judges were: Brough Scott (Chairman), Founder of the Racing Post, long time Chief Presenter of Channel 4 Racing and three times Sports Feature Writer of the Year; Marcus Armytage, racing writer at The Daily Telegraph and Grand National winning jockey; Tim Cox, former Worldwide Media Director of the BBDO advertising agency and owner of a 13,000 volume racing library; Michael Howard, former Home Secretary and Leader of the Opposition and one of the leading politicians of his generation; Sean Magee, a racing author and journalist; Bruce Millington, Editor of the Racing Post since October 2007 and previously its Sports Editor; and Catherine Wills, DPhil Art Historian sister of Martin Wills and a member of the Jockey Club.
Brough Scott stated “The judging process this year was one of the most enjoyable we have had because of the real energy and talent that was coming off the page. That is exactly what these Awards had hoped to encourage”.
The winning entries can be read on this site.
The Awards are being presented by Brough Scott at 12 noon today in the Limekilns Room in the Millennium Grandstand on the Rowley Mile Course, Newmarket, the room being kindly lent by the Racecourse. The Award winners will additionally receive an expenses paid day’s racing, plus (for some of them) a tour of Henry Cecil’s and James Fanshawe’s yards.
The Martin Wills Memorial Trust Awards commemorate Martin Wills, an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider, racing enthusiast and journalist who died in April 1992, aged 39.
Brough Scott (Chairman of the Judges and a Trustee) 020-8946 9671/07860-258 881
Please enter your email below to subscribe to our Newsletter where you will recieve information in every thing to do with the Martin Wills Writing Awards.