A record number of entries have been received for the world’s richest stud and stable staff awards, sponsored by Sheikh Mohammmed’s Godolphin racing operation.
The numbers are up by 50 per cent on last year and have reached an all-time high in the nine-year history of the awards, which are run by the British Horseracing Authority in association with the Racing Post.
The judges now have to compile the shortlists for the award categories which are high achiever, rider/groom of the year, stud staff, dedication to racing, newcomer and administration staff.
The top three in each section will then be interviewed on the eve of the awards with the winners announced at a glittering ceremony, which will be hosted by Clare Balding and staged at Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge on Monday, March 4.
Cash prizes are also awarded to the yard of each winner, with the two runners up in the five main categories also receiving money for themselves and their workmates.
The winner of the employee of the year title and an additional £15,000, will be selected from the high achiever, rider/groom, stud staff and dedication to racing nominees.
Last year’s winner was Clifford Baker, head lad to champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls and former work rider of Kauto Star.
Newmarket has an excellent record in the competition with past top prizewinners including David Bradley who works for Jeremy Noseda and Stuart Messenger who works for Sir Michael Stoute.
“It’s wonderful that the entries are up by 50 per cent,” said Brough Scott, who oversees the judging panel.
“This is a tribute to the growing profile of the awards and the recognition among the racing industry that the work of these dedicated and remarkable individuals is worthy of praise and reward.”