TALENTED jumps jockey Brad McLean was awarded his third Ted Byrne medal at a function for the Western Otway Region in Warrnambool yesterday.
Stewards cast votes following each jumps race during the 2012-13 season in the south-west for the prestigious award which is named after the legendary late jumps jockey.
McLean said he was delighted to receive the honour for a third time.
“It’s great to have won the award again,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky to have had the support of my brother Jarrod, other trainers and owners during the last season,” the 28-year-old said.
“I’ve been lucky to have ridden some really good jumpers which has helped me to win the award.
“I must also acknowledge the efforts of the other jumps jockeys. There are some very good jumps jockeys in the ranks.”
McLean, who shed 18 kilograms from late February to May, said all the hard work had been worthwhile.
“I had two shoulder reconstructions and was lacking a bit of motivation but I was always going to come back riding.
“My decision came sooner after I saw fellow Warrnambool jumps jockeys Shane Jackson and Braidon Small schooling some of Jarrod’s horses,” McLean said.
“My personal trainer Courtney Thompson did a big job with me. She encouraged me to keep on pushing myself to my limits.
“I’ve just been giving my body a bit of a rest recently but I will be working out with Courtney again soon.”
The Brierly Steeplechase win by Cats Fun at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival was a highlight for the Warrnambool-based jumps jockey.
“I think I had 12 winners for the year and four of those victories were in feature jumps races,” McLean said.
“Cats Fun’s win in the Brierly was great but so were the efforts of Maythehorsebemagic.
“He came from a restricted jumper for Jarrod to an up-and-coming star next year.
“I also rate the win of Wells high up. I won the Lafferty Hurdle on him,” McLean said.
“He’s trained by Katherine and Craig Durden and I’ve been friends of theirs for many years. Craig was an idol of mine when I was growing up.”
Other award winners were leading trainer Darren Weir and leading flat jockey Dean Yendall.
The top apprentice award was a dead heat between Jackie Beriman and Harry Coffey.
Jarrod McLean shared the leading jumps trainer award with the Wilde stable.
The leading jumps jockey was Steve Pateman, while Maythehorsebemagic won the leading jumps horse title.
Yendall took home the Pat Hyland award and Puissance De Lune won the horse of the year title.