Fabrice Tomlin, 25, from Reading, Berkshire, a student with ambitions to become a journalist, has been named as the senior winner of the annual Martin Wills Trust awards for creative writing on horse racing.
Tomlin took the under-26 category. He receives Â£1,250 for his article “Corporatism â€“ the Scourge of Racing”. In addition, he will retain for a year a bronze trophy of two galloping horses by Gill Wiles.
The under-26 runner-up is 24-year-old Catherine Deshayes from West Kensington, London, who has a 2:1 in English Literature from Exeter University and has recently started work as a freelance journalist. She receives Â£750 for her article, “Best Dressed Lady”.
The under-19 winner is 16-year old Mark Crawford from Oaksey, near Malmesbury, Wilts, who is at Radley College, studying for AS and A2 Levels in Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, English and History. He receives Â£500 for his article “Regret”, about an injured jockey.
The 15th annual Martin Wills Memorial Trust awards, for creative writing (fact or fiction) on, or with a background in, any aspect of horse racing, by a young person resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, attracted the equal highest ever number of entries – 132. Having regard to the exceptionally high number of under-19 entries (88 this year), a third category, under-15, was created.
The under-15 winner is 13-year old Caitriona Cox from Santon, near Douglas in the Isle of Man, a pupil at King William’s College, Castletown. She receives Â£250 for her article “Cleaning Up”, about a racecourse cleaner.
All four 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.
Catherine Reeves, aged 18, from Edinburgh, and Christina Drallas, aged 14, from Wimbledon, London, were highly commended in the under-19 and under-15 categories, respectively, and both receive a book.
The judges were: chairman Brough Scott, Editorial Director of the Racing Post, sports feature writer of the Sunday Telegraph and for 30 years chief presenter of Channel 4 Racing; Lisa Hancock, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses; Sean Magee, whose books include Arkle: the life and legacy of ‘Himself’ and who is currently collaborating with Lord Derby on the Ouija Board book; Barry Newcombe,
chairman of the Sports Journalists’ Association and UK Olympic Press Attache; and Catherine Wills, art historian and sister of Martin Wills.