Clifford Baker was today named ‘Employee of the Year’ at the eighth annual Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Ceremony, which took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge.
The Head Lad, employed by Paul Nicholls, was presented with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by Guest Presenter Paul Hanagan. In addition to the stunning trophy, Clifford was also presented with a cheque for a staggering £25,000, of which £10,000 will be shared amongst the staff at Nicholl’s Yard.
All 15 finalists, plus the winner of the NASS Special Merit Award Jerry Walsh, were praised by the Judging Panel for their unwavering dedication and contribution to the racing industry. The Awards Ceremony followed a formal judging day, held yesterday at the British Horseracing Authority’s headquarters, where each of the finalists was interviewed by members of the Judging Panel.
Brough Scott, Chairman of the Panel commented:
“It is appropriate that Clifford Baker rides Kauto Star every morning because he has long been the Kauto Star of Stable Staff. His whole career has been a magnificent example how outstanding staff play a major role in any trainer’s success.”
Dual Champion Flat Jockey Paul Hanagan, who presented the awards, added:
“This is a really special day for everyone involved. Jockeys know more than most the level of dedication and hard work demonstrated everyday by Stud and Stable Staff, and it is a real privilege to spend time with them, and to be able to acknowledge everything they do for the sport in front of their family, friends and colleagues.”
Run by the British Horseracing Authority in conjunction with the Racing Post, the Awards are the richest of their kind in the world with £120,000 in prize money generously donated by Godolphin. The Ceremony saw a specially invited audience from across the Racing Industry gather to celebrate the fundamental role that Stud and Stable Staff play within the sport.
Each individual category winner collected £5,000, with their colleagues at their respective Stable or Stud also sharing £5,000 between them. The two runners-up in each category also received £2,000, with their Yard or Stud also collecting the same amount. The winner of the separate NASS Special Merit Award, judged by the NASS Executive, received an individual prize of £5,000.
The full list of winners and runners up are as follows:
NASS SPECIAL MERIT AWARD
Winner: Jerry Walsh, Travelling Head Lad with Paul Webber
DAVID NICHOLSON NEWCOMER AWARD
Winner: Christoper Lynn, Stable Lad with Ferdy Murphy
Runners Up: Katy Tyler, Rider/Groom with Mark Johnston and Robyn Gray, Head Lass with Diane Sayer
HIGH ACHIEVER AWARD
Winner: Clifford Baker, Head Lad with Paul Nicholls
Runners Up: Andrew Bottomley, Yard Manager with Mark Johnston and William Reddy, Head Lad with Eve Johnson Houghton
Winner: Charlotte Cox, Stable Lass with Henry Candy
Runners Up: Peter Johnson, Head Lad with Johnson Racing Limited and Zafar Abbas, Groom with Mahmood Al Zarooni
STUD STAFF AWARD
Winner: Graham Nicklin, Stud Groom at Glebe Stud
Runners Up: Frances Eilbeck, Stud Groom at Minster Stud and Gordon Laing, Assistant Stud Groom at Fittocks Stud
DEDICATION TO RACING AWARD
Winner: Willie Cowe, Head Lad with James Ewart
Runners Up: Burney Hutchison, Head Lad with David R.Lanigan and Lenny Brinkley, Feedman with Roger Varian
The Awards were judged by a panel comprising celebrated Author and Journalist Brough Scott (Chairman); Dinah Nicholson, wife of the late David Nicholson, himself a former Champion Trainer; David Redvers, Bloodstock Agent; Pat Eddery, three-time Derby winner and 11-time Champion jockey; Ian Balding, former Champion Trainer; and Judith Allen, Executive Director of the British Horseracing and Education Standards Trust.