Racing workers from Newmarket have won two of the top prizes at the world’s richest awards for stable and stud workers.
Laura Winstanley and Claire Goodenough both won their categories in the Godolphin, awards which are backed by Sheikh Mohammed’s racing organisation.
Twenty-one-year-old Laura, who works at Sir Michael Stoute’s Freemason Lodge yard won the David Nicholson Newcomer Award, while Claire Goodenough, who works for Fordham Road trainer William Haggas, took the Dedication to Racing award.
Laura, a graduate of the British Racing School, received a cheque for £2,000, an additional £2,000 for the staff at Freemason Lodge and a five day educational trip to Dubai to learn more about the country’s racing, culture and customs.
Claire, who is 48, and has worked in racing for more than 30 years, won £5,000 for herself and £5,000 for staff at Somerville Lodge Stables.
“I cannot say how relieved I am that I was brave enough to take the plunge and go into racing and follow a career with horses, which is what I really, really wanted to do. I cannot imagine doing anything else now. Working in racing has completely exceeded my expectations,” said Laura.
Claire, who was described as “ irreplaceable to the team at Somerville Lodge” by trainer’s wife Maureen Haggas, said: “This award is for everyone at the yard because they have supported me through everything.”
Also among the finalists was Abi Harrison, head girl for Jane Chapple-Hyam, who lost out in the Leadership category to the eventual overall winner Gemma Hogg who works for trainer Micky Hammond.
The winner of the inaugural Rory MacDonald community award, named in honour of the former head of Newmarket’s British Racing School, who died suddenly last year, was Lisa Delaney manager of the Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme.
The awards were presented by Sir Anthony McCoy and Clare Balding.
Robin Mounsey, spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority and the Horse Comes First campaign, said: “Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists at this year’s awards which celebrated some of the unsung heroes behind the scenes of British Racing.”