Attheraces.com columnist Kevin Blake won the Specialist Writer of the Year Award at the Horserace Writers' and Photographers' Association Derby Awards ceremony in London on Monday.
Blake, who joined attheraces.com back in 2015, received the award for his weekly column on the website which often tackles controversial issues and generates huge interest and engagement through social media. Subjects covered in 2019 have included the case for a female jockeys' allowance, horse racing's 'insecurity' around animal welfare, the unambitious campaigning of Australian mare Winx and the case for racing publishing more data.
He is the inaugural winner of the Specialist Writer category and becomes the first HWPA winner to write solely on a digital platform. The shortlist also included fellow attheraces.com columnist Simon Rowlands.
Blake, from Golden, Co Tipperary, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive the Specialist Writer of the Year Award from the HWPA for my work with attheraces.com. I am also very grateful for all the support and opportunities I have received throughout my career. I'd like to thank everyone that has read, shared and engaged with my work over the years, as without the support of the readers I'd be nowhere. The retweets really are appreciated!"
Matthew Taylor, Director of New Media and Innovation added: "This award is testament to all of Kevin's hard work for ATR. He's never afraid to tackle difficult and controversial subjects but does so with great objectivity and balance. He is incredibly hard-working and every week manages to produce original material which is always backed up by meticulous research. Having a writer of his calibre makes our job very easy!"