Congratulations to the four National Horseracing College graduates and current learners who have been shortlisted from 206 initial nominations for the 2021 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, the most prestigious awards of their kind.
Graduates Jessica Bell, who is assistant to her trainer-stepfather Brian Ellison at his North Yorkshire stable, and Hannah Gregory, who fulfils a similar role with Richard Philips in Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire, are nominated in the Leadership category.
Jessica Bell did her apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeship with the NHC, while Hannah is a graduate of the College.
Jessica Townend has been nominated for the David Nicholson Newcomer award. She works for Leyburn, North Yorkshire, trainer Jedd O’Keeffe and has recently enrolled for an apprenticeship with the College.
The fourth nominee, Samantha Trainor, who has been shortlisted for the Community award, actually works for the College as roving tutor and regional staff development programme lead. She ran the pilot for the BHA’s regional staff development programme in Middleham, and its success has led to a national roll-out of the scheme.
NHC Chief Executive, Colonel Stephen Padgett said “we always are delighted that so many of those who have benefited from training with the College do extremely well in their careers in the racing industry and across such a wide variety of interesting roles. Shortlisting for these prestigious awards is testament to their own dedication and abilities of course but I am sure also that it evidences the excellent work of the NHC’s instructors and staff who teach, guide, support and encourage all who participate in our many courses. Well done all and the very best of luck to the nominees in the final stages of selection.”
The shortlists for the 17th Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards include employees from Flat and jump yards, as well as stud farms, and have drawn nominations for individuals with a wide range of experience and backgrounds, from those who have worked in the racing industry for just a short time to those who have dedicated a lifetime to the sport.
The judging panel , chaired for the first time this year by broadcaster Nick Luck, will now agree on a list of three finalists for each of the six categories, which will be announced in the new year. The format of the 2021 awards has changed due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, with the entirety of the judging process likely to be conducted remotely.
The awards ceremony on Monday 22 February 2021 will be an interactive virtual event, broadcasted live and free to air on Racing TV. A celebratory event is being planned for summer 2021, subject to government guidance.
Total prize money is £128,500, with up to £15,000 available to a single yard or stud.
The winners of the Leadership Award, Dedication Award, Rider/Groom Award and Stud Staff Award will each receive £5,000, with an additional £5,000 being awarded to the winner’s yard or stud. Two runners-up in each of these categories will win £2,000 each, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.
The winner of the Community Award will receive £5,000, with the same going to a charity of their choice, and two similar prizes of £2,000 for two runners-up. The winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award will receive £2,000 and a five-day educational trip to Dubai provided by Godolphin. Their yard or stud will receive £2,000, while two runners-up will receive £1,000 each, with the same amount for their yard or stud.
The final awards will recognise the Employee of the Year, who will be selected from the winners of the first four categories and will receive an additional prize of £10,000, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.
For the first time in 2021, all those who make the shortlist of 10 for each category but do not progress to the final three will receive £250 each in recognition of their achievement and also to distribute existing prize money more widely, given the widespread financial impact of COVID-19.
Congratulations and the very best of luck to all.