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Western Champion 2017/18: Derek O'Connor

Western Champion 2017/18: Derek O'Connor

Western Region - Derek O’Connor

The Western region is the smallest region with 11 fixtures each season.

Derek O’Connor has dominated this award for the past ten years and was again the run-away winner with 12 winners, 6 winners clear of Johnny Barry.

Of the 11 Western meetings, Derek rode winners at six of them for eight different handlers.

Derek established a clear lead in the region following his treble at Rathcannon in October and remained in front for the rest season.

The rescheduled meeting at Moig South saw O’Connor register another treble with one of his winners that day coming from the current leading point-to-pointer this season, Sydney Paget, who Derek also won on at Cragmore and Ballysteen.

O’Connor finished seventh on Balnalsow in Cheltenham Foxhunters and the Galway native then enjoyed his first success over the Grand National fences when the pair won this year’s Aintree Foxhunters by two and a half lengths.

Derek reached another milestone in his career as he won his first Grade 1 abroad the Joseph O'Brien-trained Edwulf in the Irish Gold Cup and then rode the former Dromahane runner-up to finish eight in the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following month.

Derek rode his first point-to-point winner on Rossy Orchestra at Killaloe in 2000 and has since ridden 1,172 point-to-point winners.

This is Derek O’Connor’s 37th Award having won 11 Irish Field rider titles, ten Western titles, eight Southern titles, six Northern titles and two Novice titles.

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