25 Feb 2014 Grassroots

Following a gala evening ceremony celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, Leanne Masterton, Travelling Head Girl for Andrew Balding, has been named as Employee of the Year 2014.

Leanne was awarded with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by presenter Clare Balding and special guest presenter and 18-time Champion Jump Jockey AP McCoy at a glittering event hosted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). She was also presented with a cheque for a grand total of a staggering £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at the historic Park House Stables in Kingsclere.

Leanne joined Park House at 16 and has developed into one of the finest and most respected travelling grooms on the international circuit. She rode seven winners as an apprentice at Park House and her riding ability is one of the key reasons she has since been chosen to represent the yard on various high-profile overseas excursions, including to Canada, America, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Dubai.

The highlight of Leanne’s 18-year career, however, came in 2013 as she played an instrumental role in travelling Side Glance to Australia in 2013 as he went on to win the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse.

The Awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in front of a specially invited audience from across the racing industry to celebrate the vital role of stud and stable staff in the Racing industry.

All 16 finalists, including the winner of the Administration Staff Award, were praised by the judges for their talent, outstanding commitment and contribution to the racing industry.

Brough Scott, Chairman of the Judging Panel, commented:

“This tenth set of awards produced a quite outstanding set of finalists and quite excellent winners. Finally choosing Leanne Masterton as employee of the year was particularly difficult but she is a magnificent illustration of how fulfilling a role in racing can be.”

The winners were decided at a formal judging day held in the morning before the ceremony at the British Horseracing Authority’s London office, where each of the finalists were interviewed by members of the judging panel.

The full list of winners and runners up are as follows:

Leanne Masterton, Travelling Head Girl – Andrew Balding
Runners-up: Tony Garth, Travelling Supervisor – Saeed bin Suroor
Alfie Mills, Rider/Groom – Mark Johnston

Winner: Gerry Meehan, Yearling Manager – Newsells Park Stud
Runners-up: Jayne Bushby, Stud Groom – Upton Viva Stud
Becky Stebbing, Manager of Yearlings – New England Stud

Winner: Tony Gorman, Head Lad – Richard Hannon
Runners-up: Adam Kite, Head Man/Assistant Trainer – Ralph Beckett
Rory O’Dowd, Assistant Trainer – Brian Meehan

Winner: Maxine Ledger, Head Girl – Richard Hannon
Runners-up: Michael Ashley, Head Lad – John W Hills
Stuart Jackson, Travelling Head Lad – David Simcock

Winner: Ben James, Stable Staff – William Haggas
Runners-up: Emma Dwyer, Assistant Yard Manager – Mark Johnston
Scott Sainsbury, Stable Lad – Andrew Balding

Winner: Marbeth Blair, Office Manager – Brian Meehan

Generously sponsored by Godolphin and run by BHA in conjunction with the Racing Post, the Awards offer £120,000 in prize money across the six categories.

The winners of the Leadership, Rider/Groom, Stud Staff and Dedication to Racing awards each collected £5,000, with their respective yard receiving the same amount to be shared between colleagues. The two runners-up in these categories also received £2,000, with their yards also collecting the same amount. The winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award was awarded £2,000, with the same amount awarded to their yard, while the two runners-up received £1,000 each with the same amount awarded to their yard. The winner of the Administration Staff Award receives £5,000, with the same amount going to the yard. The winner of the Employee of the Year then receives an additional £15,000, with another £15,000 to be shared amongst their yard.

The Awards were judged by a panel comprising of celebrated author and journalist Brough Scott (Chairman); the leading former trainers Ian Balding and Jack Berry; Dinah Nicholson, wife of the late David Nicholson for who the Newcomer award is named in his honour; Judith Allen, chief executive of the British Horseracing and Education Standards Trust; Joe Grimwade, former manager of the National Stud and Royal Studs; and George McGrath, chief executive of National Association of Stable Staff.