David Nicholson Newcomer Category
(For employees who have worked in racing for less than two years)
Charlotte Ramage – £2,500 and £1,000 to her colleagues
Rider/Groom with David Barron
Charlotte has been working in David Barron’s yard for nearly 2 years, being influenced towards becoming involved in racing by living near a Jump racing yard when a child, and where she helped out at weekends. She attended the Northern Racing College to work through the racing NVQ system, and decided she would like to work in a Flat yard with its year-round activity and joined David Barron. Charlotte works well with all members of the team in a mature and sensible manner which allows managers to delegate to her with assurance. Through her training in the NVQ system she has increased the awareness throughout the yard of safety issues and best practice. The variety of horses she can work increases as she becomes more experienced. She has travelled all over the country and raced abroad, communicating with owners as well as updating the managerial staff at home. David Barron believes she has the potential to work well in a managerial role within racing.
Kirsty Huff – £1,000
Stable Girl with Suzy Smith
Kirsty joined Suzy Smith’s yard on a work experience placement from school and was enthusiastic and hard working; the stable paid for riding lessons so she could then ride the quieter horses before she went to the British Racing School after which she returned to the yard where she has been for nearly 2 years. She has completed her NVQ Level 2 and will do NVQ 3 in a year’s time whilst also wanting to attend the Amateur Riders course at the BRS to improve her skills. Suzy says that for someone that had not really ridden much, she is one of the best young members of staff she has come across. Her interest, attitude and ambition are the reasons she has learnt so much in such a short space of time. Spending time with the vet when handling the horses she is beginning to understand injuries and problems in greater depth and be really hands on and she also understands the complexities of feeding. She has also designed the yard’s website which she updates and this has generated new owners. Her main goal is to be a National Hunt trainer. Kirsty knew after her first day working on the yard that racing was the career for her.
Nicola Smith – £1,000
Stable Girl/Rider with William Haggas
Nicola has been working in William Haggas’s yard for 1 ½ years after 6 months with James Toller. Since starting with William her work attitude and ability have improved unbelievably and she has undergone a real transformation. She is hugely enthusiastic, her riding has improved no end and she is a really popular member of staff and one of the first in the yard both at morning and evening stables. She keeps newspaper cuttings about her horses’ races and knows every one of their little habits. She has really turned herself around and William Haggas nominated her as a reflection of his appreciation of her efforts.
(For those working specifically in the breeding industry)
Stephen Lomas – £2,500 and £1,000 to his colleagues
Stallion Man at Sandley Stud
Stephen has spent the last 3 ½ years of his 41 years in racing at Sandley Stud where he takes care of the 5 stallions. He is extremely knowledgeable about nutrition and feeding which means the stallions look immaculate and are a credit to him. He lunges the stallions each day before the season to build up their fitness and he is very experienced in the breeding shed where his well-judged handling ensures everyone’s safety. Last year he worked particularly hard with one stallion which was proving slow to cover his mares and his persistence paid off when the majority of mares came into foal. He was particularly excited when the Queen sent one of her mares to be covered by Generous and waits with interest to see the foal that is produced. Stephen sees himself as a link in the chain of the stud operation but he is obviously a very vital link.
Lawrence Carling – £1,000
Yearling Manager at New England Stud
Lawrence started in racing at New England Stud 9 years ago just after leaving school at 16. He grew up in an urban area with no knowledge of horses but visited the yard on an open day and applied to do an NVQ course at the National Stud after which he was placed with Peter Stanley. Peter says that Lawrence, in the last 9 years, has excelled at everything he’s done showing a confidence and skill most unusual in someone not brought up with racing around them. He is incredibly hard-working and always volunteers for outside work-time roles. He was made stallion man 3 ½ years ago and has since progressed to being yearling manager with the charge of the preparation of the stud yearlings. He is an inspiration to the other younger members of staff. He was involved in 2004 in saving the life of an 8-day old foal, prepped the same foal as a boisterous yearling colt which sold for £340,000 in 2005 and watched with great pride when, when as Mount Nelson, he became a Group 1 winner last year.
Sarah Sarson – £1,000
Stud Groom at The Elms Stud
Sarah moved to the Elms Stud from Cheveley Park six years ago after 14 years in the business and her devotion to her job, leadership qualities and her appetite for getting stuck into the most challenging situations are inspiring to other members of staff. She welcomes newcomers with one of her special roast dinners and her two latest recruits, two Polish ladies, have flourished under her care both in extending their language capabilities and their practical work. Sarah foals the majority of the 40-50 mares annually which means an almost constant observation from Jan-May when she has very few full nights sleep. She has a flair for the preparation and turnout of her sales consignment, and in 2006 one of her career ambitions came true when she led up the 4.6m guineas world record breaking mare Magical Romance, who she had cared for after the Yearling Sales and then since her retirement to ensure she was best placed to conceive. She also spent time preparing the Kyllachy colt foal out of resident mare Haste who topped the 2nd day of the Tattersalls Foal sale who, as a raw recruit, tested her abilities to the limit.
(For general staff, yard men and work riders)
Joseph Crayton – £2,500 and £1,000 to his colleagues
Stable Lad with Paul Cole
Paul Cole says it is a rarity to find someone who has been loyal to one employer for so long – Joseph has been with him for 33 years. Joseph enjoys all aspects of the job – the mucking out, grooming, riding out and going racing – but finds building a close relationship with a good horse really special as no-one else will ever have the same rapport with that horse. He never wanted to be a head lad or assistant because he wanted to stay close to his horses. He has travelled round the world for top international races, looking after Ibn Bey, Strategic Choice and Snurge. Joseph also makes himself available for any extra jobs but also helps the foreign staff employed get settled in and helps them with the little things often taken for granted in our home country. Joseph is like a dad to them all and as a consequence many stay for years and enjoy their jobs.
Wayne Fearon – £1,000
Rider/Groom with David Barron
Of his 24 years in racing ‘Fred’ has spent the last 6 with David Barron and a major aspect of his job is working with youngsters, both equine and human. He brings on the yearlings and rides them away – he is extremely patient and cares deeply about them – as a result of which the most difficult of horses are polite and perform to their best ability. He gets a real buzz seeing how the yearlings improve visibly each day, and shows considerable empathy with his horses and is quick to notice if a horse is off colour. He has a considerable influence on the overall performance of the yard and is an ideal role model for newcomers, being an immensely stabilising influence. Fred considers himself lucky to work in the countryside with the most trusting and gentle of creatures and hopes to continue for many years in his dream job.
Lee Hagan – £1,000
Rider/Groom with Philip Hobbs
Lee has been with Philip Hobbs for 18 months of his 13 ½ years in racing to date. He believes that working with the young stock is very important as errors in the early stages can ruin the horse for the long term. 2006 saw him breaking horses from start to finish for the first time. Lee believes the more you put into horses the more you get back. He also finds changing the direction of an older, difficult horse rewarding as you need to get inside their heads to find a solution. He is capable of riding all of the 112 horses currently in training with Philip Hobbs, but particularly enjoys looking after Detroit City.
(For senior yard and travelling staff, and office administrators such as yard secretaries)
Chris Hinson – £2,500 and £1,000 to his colleagues
Head Groom with Ed Dunlop
Chris has spent a total of 44 years in racing, the past 17 with Ed Dunlop and the past 11 as Head Lad. Ed says that Chris’s dedication and loyalty to the job is unquestionable and his first-class knowledge is paramount in the success of the yard. He is first in the yard at 4.30pm and holds the respect of the lads and lasses in the yard, taking the less experienced under his wing, leading by example and encouragement. One of his mottos is ‘if the staff are happy the horses are happy’.
Chris rides Ouija Board in all her work and he travelled with her to both Japan and Hong Kong. The filly’s success has been the highlight of his career and Ed says that his contribution and dedication with her played a big part.
Alan Errington – £1,000
Head Lad and Travelling Head Lad with Simon Dow
Alan has been in racing for 42 years, the last 4 with Simon Dow, with his career being entirely spent in Epsom. He started at 15 with John Benstead, where he was for 35 years, progressing to the position of Head Lad and only moved on when John Benstead retired. Simon says that Alan is the epitome of someone who is the backbone of the horseracing industry. On one of his first rides at Epsom he was beaten a short head by a 7lb claiming apprentice who happened to be Pat Eddery. The welfare of the horses in his charge is first and foremost. Without people like Alan the sport could not operate and his kind and considerate yet professional manner with horses and people is a shining example to young people. It is to his credit that he takes the time to pass on so much of this to young people coming into the industry; he sees part of his responsibility as being trying to keep young people on the right road outside the job. In Simon’s experience it is most unusual to find someone who is so consistent year after year; stability is fundamental to the longevity and success of any racing stables.
Peter West – £1,000
Former Travelling Head Lad with Marcus Tregoning
Recently retired, Peter has spent 45 years in racing, the past 9 with Marcus Tregoning who says he could not ask for a more able ambassador and that Peter is the ultimate professional. He worked for Major Dick Hern before Marcus; his association with many long-term members of staff extends far beyond that of working colleagues. Peter would never question why Marcus might ask him to step outside his remit as a Travelling Head Lad and undertake other activities in the yard. He recognises he is representing the trainer and Kingwood House when he’s on course with connections. Peter’s primary consideration is for the horses’ wellbeing but he also enjoys taking on junior members of staff and seeing their confidence grow as they handle different situations. In 2006 Sir Percy was the fourth Derby winner that Peter has travelled to Epsom (Troy, Henbit and Nashwan previously) which Marcus believes shows the trust placed in him and what a vital part of the team he is – Marcus says Peter was responsible for Sir Percy’s character on the day. Peter retired and hung up his horsebox keys at the end of 2006.
(For those who have shown bravery, courage or outstanding achievement in the course of their work)
Sira Hornsby – £2,500 and £1,000 to her colleagues
Rider/Groom with Jeremy Noseda
Sira has been with Jeremy Noseda for the last 4 years of her 25 years in racing. Jeremy says that Sira is a one-off not just in racing, but in life. She cares about her horses to an extraordinary level but also cares about the people she works alongside. Over the years she and a friend have arranged for racing people who have no family in Newmarket to spend Christmas with them. Supporting and caring for others is something that comes naturally to her. Jeremy maintains that if he were a horse there would be no better person to look after him. She has looked after many good horses including Group 1 winners at home and abroad from Milligram to Peak to Creek. She loves her horses – their excitement is her excitement and their pain her pain. An example of this is Desert Courier who went wrong 2 days before the St. James’ Palace Stakes, and illness which turned out to be cancer and Sira sat with him for 2 months at the vets before he died. Sira also takes time out to go and visit the horses once they have left Shalfleet. For a horse to win gives her a very special feeling that no amount of money can buy and which only those in the industry will appreciate.
Liam Higgins –Senior Stable Lad with Kim Bailey
‘Higgs’ has been with Kim Bailey for 25 of his 34 years in racing. Kim says he is a true legend in the Jump racing community who has dedicated himself to horses his whole life. All the owners whose horses he does think he is an absolute star. He is totally understated, a very modest man who chooses his words wisely. He doesn’t ever seek recognition for what he does, just gets on with his work in a serious and dedicated fashion. He spends hours breaking in all the younger horses which he loves and they respond brilliantly to him. He’s always been willing to help young lads in their careers and played a significant part in Norman Williamson’s formative years as a jockey and helped Des Flavin in becoming Champion Amateur. He’s ridden some great horses including Master Oats, Mr Frisk, Docklands Express and Alderbrook. The stable star and Higgs’ baby Longshanks was injured last January and he used all his skills in helping the horse to recover and when he returned to the track at the Hennessy meeting in November he won by 11 lengths. Higgs is great for cheering everyone up and Kim uses him as a good barometer for the yard in general. 2006 has been a big year seeing a move to a brand new yard in Andoversford and he did so much to help.
Joline Saunders – £1,000
Racing Secretary with Richard Phillips
For the past 5 years Jo has been the most fundamental member of the team at Adlestrop and is the first point of call for all owners, staff, media and friends of the yard. She organises the Open Day, yard syndicates, social arrangements for owners and staff and helped to raise over £25,000 for Cancer & Leukaemia in Children by organising the Adlestrop Ball. One of the owners even named a horse after her. She also acts as a substitute jockeys agent to Chris Board at times and other trainers and jockeys often ring her for advice and help on their own business matters. Richard once commented that it felt like the whole of the racing industry was being run from our office. Jo’s great attitude is that she cares – if a member of staff gets injured she takes them to hospital or if an owner has a flat tyre she organises their rescue. Richard says Jo is the most honest person he has met and her levels of integrity know no limits. Her job is incredibly demanding and her intellectual and academic skills are invaluable. Jo says that she is often told that staying sane after working for Richard Phillips for 5 years is a big achievement in itself. For her, mistakes are simply not an option (especially as Mr Phillips never makes any!) She says that it is nice to feel trusted and to be the one to rely on.
Stable Employee of the Year 2007
Chris Hinson – £10,000 plus £10,000 to be shared amongst his stable colleagues