As excitement builds for the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards due to take place tomorrow night, more information about the 18 finalists has been revealed.
The three finalists for each of the six awards have been selected from an original field of over 250 nominations.
They have spent a combined total of over 208 years in their current roles, which equates to 260,922 working days spent working hard behind the scenes to keep yards, studs and businesses running and their horses healthy and happy.
You can find out a bit more about this year’s finalists below.
Andrea Kelly – Tim Vaughan
Andrea is an exceptional leader and an inspiration to those she works with at Tim Vaughan Racing.
Travelling the length and breadth of the country, Andrea always has a smile on her face for fellow staff, colleagues in other yards and for all the owners.
She has tremendous knowledge and is diligent, sympathetic and caring towards horses in her care, from when they step in the lorry in the morning to after their return to the yard.
She has also helped to nurture countless staff and is a huge part of the team at Pant Wilkin.
Edward Murrell – Juddmonte Farms
Since joining Juddmonte on a permanent basis in 2001, Ed has progressed to become Assistant Stud Manager in January.
Ed plays a key role in ensuring the smooth working of the organization in Newmarket, and has developed exception people management skills.
Having experience the benefits of work experience himself, Ed also ensures young people who have a keen interest in the industry have has the opportunity to learn and develop from their Juddmonte experience.
Ed is positive, encouraging, hardworking, committed and dedicated. He is not only a team player but also a highly-respected leader within Juddmonte’s Newmarket operation.
Jessica McLernon – Richard Fahey
Since starting as a racing groom in May 2011, Jess’s career at Richard Fahey Racing has progressed at an exponential rate, recently becoming became Assistant Trainer.
As well as managing day to day duties including rotas, allocating staff to go racing and managing veterinary visits she keeps in close contact with the office and 75 staff who help make the yard run so efficiently.
Her positive, friendly attitude and astute manner and natural management skills have always shone through and she has worked hard to hone her skills in managing, motivating and mentoring the staff to get the best out of everyone.
Dedication to Racing Award
Chris Jerdin – Oliver Sherwood
Chris Jerdin, more affectionately known as CJ, has been working in racing since 1969. Although he has looked after many great horses such as Rose Ravine, Large Action and Rodalko, CJ will be best known for looking after Many Clouds.
His devotion to the popular chaser, who he hoped he would retire alongside, embodies a 46 year career in racing in which CJ has been unswervingly trustworthy, loyal and dedicated to the horses in his care and the people he has worked with.
He will retire in 2018 after 24 years of unwavering and invaluable service at Rhonehurst Stables.
Patrick Lennon – Shadwell Stud
Patrick has spent his entire life within the worlds of breeding and racing. Having spent much of his career at Thornton Stud in Yorkshire, a spell at Plantation Stud in Newmarket followed before moving to Shadwell in 2005.
Patrick himself describes a career which has been blessed with good fortune and enjoyment at every turn, but it is the horses and people who have come into contact with him who have been the lucky ones.
A true horseman with a gentle yet firm hand when needed, Patrick retires in 2018 after nearly 40 years of giving his all to the industry and animals he loves.
William Reddy – Eve Johnson Houghton
Will’s 48 year career in racing has been a study in dedication and loyalty. He has been associated with many human and equine greats, notably Fulke Johnson Houghton and the likes of Ile de Bourbon and Rose Bowl.
In that time he has nurtured countless young people and horses in his care, although the latter have accounted for four broken collar bones, two broken knees and six other operations!
Will’s motto ‘it’s all about the horse’ has been with him throughout his years of service which have been defined by respect and kindness for the thoroughbred, the animal he has dedicated his life to.
Petra Sebestikova – Luca Cumani
Since joining Bedford House in 2009, Petra has honed her considerable natural talent in the saddle to become one of the team’s most valued members of staff.
Petra has a quiet, cheerful disposition and has a knack of being able to calm the most fractious of horses. She helps to mentor and encourage young riders and looks after the horses in her care to an incredibly high standard.
If they are injured she continues to follow their progress making regular visits to see how they are recuperating, just one of the reasons she is a truly exceptional member of the team.
Ben Stephens – Malcolm Jefferson
Ben has been riding horses for much of his life, including a spell in New Zealand, and has become an indispensable member of the team at Newstead since joining four years ago.
He is a gifted horseman, and is particularly good with young and difficult horses. Ben’s talent and patience with horses such as Cloudy Dream have reaped rich rewards for the owners and yard over the past couple of seasons.
His horses are always beautifully turned out and his affinity with the breed, particularly his ability to pick up on a horse’s wellbeing, has become invaluable.
Faisal Tahir – Henry Spiller
Faisal arrived in England from his native Pakistan in 2004. A supremely gifted rider, it is an indication of his loyalty and dedication to the horses he rides that he has remained at a smaller yard like Saville House.
He has done this because he likes to have the time to spend with the horses he cares for, and goes about all aspects of his job with the minimum of fuss and the maximum amount of professionalism.
All those who work with him, including the trainer, have benefited from his experience and his tenderness with the racehorses he comes into contact with.
Stud Staff Award
Kate Ford – Goldford Stud
Kate joined the team at Goldford after leaving school 14 years ago has become such a vital part of the team that the stud would not be the same without her.
She has had a hand in starting the careers of the likes of Cue Card, Inglis Drever and Rule The World, and regularly helps to prepare horses for the sales whilst organising daily routines for the other staff.
Her work ethic, dedication, attention to detail and enthusiasm are what marks her out and she could not be more highly valued by those who work alongside her.
Daniel James – Brookside Stud
Daniel has always been a quiet and unassuming person, despite performing some heroic feats in his professional life. These have come in his previous career as a boxer but also more recently at Brookside Stud in December 2016, which is the reason for this nomination.
Daniel went above and beyond the call of duty, taking on hours of extra work alongside his usual role to help contain an outbreak of the EHV-1 virus. By setting up, caring for and foaling three potentially infected mares at an isolated location he showed true dedication and prevented what could have been a disaster for the stud.
Sarah Taylor – Mickley Stud
Sarah is one of the real unsung heroes in breeding, waiting up late at night to foal mares, tending to sick horses, and doing all the unglamorous things that many do not see.
As the general manager at Mickley, she oversees over 200 horses as well as some cattle and the many employees and casual workers that Mickley employ, and has always taken great pride in her work and the horses she is responsible for.
Hugely knowledgeable, caring and never afraid to stand up for what she believes in, Mickley Stud would simply not work without her.
David Nicholson Newcomer Award
Hannah Farrell – Dianne Sayer
Hannah joined the team at Town End Farm at the beginning of 2016. Although she was already a capable rider, she had never ridden a racehorse before and she has always been keen to progress, as shown by the recent completion of her NVQ level 3.
Hannah has a natural empathy with the horses and has developed into a hardworking and totally reliable member of the team who is extremely astute in everything she does.
This includes trying to improve her riding technique, taking horses to the races and even re-training and homing retired horses from the yard.
Josephine Saunders – Hillwood Stud
Jo’s enthusiasm for the job and love for the horses in her care was evident from her first day at Hillwood in January 2016.
She has grown in confidence handling mares, foals, yearlings and horses in and out of training and has always been keen to develop her skills, and now takes on extra responsibility with a calm and assured manner.
In a short space of time Jo has developed into a key member of our team and shows what a newcomer to the industry can achieve with the right passion, desire, motivation and willingness to learn and improve.
Adrian Stewart – David Loughnane
Adrian joined David Loughnane’s team having had a difficult start in life, and has proven himself to be completely dedicated to his job, the horses in the yard and the team at Helshaw Grange.
He has made excellent progress in his riding in a short space of time and now rides yearlings as well as horses in training in the yard.
Adrian’s work ethic has always been exemplary he is testament to what working in racing can do for someone’s life. His commitment is outstanding and he has become an invaluable asset to all at Helshaw Grange.
Rory MacDonald Community Award
Angela French – The Racing Centre
Angela French has been at The Racing Centre, originally the Astley Club, for over 30 years. Known affectionately as ‘the keep fit lady’, she has helped countless current and retired racing staff through her passion for healthy living.
There have been countless extra hours mopping, cleaning and helping behind the bar in the early days as well as her involvement in numerous charity events which have raised huge sums over the years.
Angela has always been an invaluable member of the team and The Racing Centre would not be what it is today with her years of fantastic commitment and hard work.
Jackie & John Porter – Nicky Henderson/IJF
As the smiling faces that have greeted countless visitors to Oaksey House since it was founded in 2008, John and Jackie Porter’s enthusiasm and sheer willingness to help have been a huge part of the success of what has become a vitally important facility for racing as a whole.
No request has been too trivial, no crisis unsolvable for the couple whose calm, compassionate, sensible manner has eased the paths of so many who turned to them for help and advice. Hundreds of injured jockeys past and present, as well as the wider racing industry, owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
Peter Williams – British Racing School
Peter Williams has been a stalwart of the British Racing School (BRS) for 13 years. His unstinting commitment to promote his love of racing to others has seen him go above and beyond the call of duty innumerable times, helping to nurture countless students who have been struggling.
There is no one activity or achievement that Peter deserves particular credit for, rather it is the sum of his total contribution and dedication to furthering the aspirations of so many that visit the BRS to start or further their careers in racing that make him an inspiration to all who work with him.
Notes to Editors:
1. You can download hi-res versions of the images above by clicking here.
2. The winners of the Awards will be decided a formal judging day at the BHA’s London office in the morning before the ceremony, where the three finalists for each category will be interviewed by members of the 12 strong judging panel.
The finalists have previously been picked from a shortlist of 10 for each category selected from over 250 original nominations.
The judging panel is: Josh Apiafi, Terry Doherty, Alice Plunkett, Dawn Goodfellow, Mark Bradburne, Tabbi Smith, Hazel Peplinski, Dinah Nicholson, George McGrath, Julian Dollar Ollie McPhail and Brough Scott.
3. The ‘Rory MacDonald Community Award’ acknowledges those who support the stud and stable staff or have made an outstanding contribution to benefit the wider racing community. The Awards provide an opportunity for the racing industry to highlight and thank the hard work put in by stud and stable staff across the country, and this award in particular acknowledges people who have had a positive impact on their community.
4. The winner of each of the first four categories receives a prize of £5,000 with an additional £5,000 also being awarded to the winner’s yard or stud. Two runners-up in each of these categories win £2,000 each, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.
5. The winner of the Rory MacDonald Community Award receives £5,000, with the same going to a charity of their choice. The two runners-up receive £2,000, with the same going to a charity of their choice.
6. The winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award receives £2,000, with the same amount going to their yard or stud, while two runners-up receive £1,000 each, with the same amount for their yard. There is an additional prize for the winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award, which includes return flights, a five day educational tour of Dubai together with five nights’ accommodation.
7. The Awards will also recognise an Employee of the Year, who is selected from the winners of the first four categories. That winner will receive an additional prize of £15,000, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.