Four in line for top stable titles

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Making it through to the final of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards is for many involved in the racing world right up there with being associated with a big race winner.

It not only recognises the hard work and effort put in on a day to day basis by individuals by their bosses and those involved on the judging panel, but it adds a sparkle to their CV that sets them aside from others in their field.

Since the inception of the awards 10 years ago the Newmarket area has fared well producing both category winners and outright Employee of the Year title holders.

This year four more names from the area will head down to London later this month in pursuit of bringing back more glory.

Heading up the list of names representing Headquarters is long-serving stable staff member Stuart Jackson, one of three people vying for the Dedication to Racing Award.

The 73 year old, who currently works for town trainer David Simcock as a horse box driver, first started his career back in racing in 1955 as an apprentice jockey with former trainer Captain Charles Elsey.

Since then, Stuart has spent spells with former Newmarket trainers Harry Wragg, Julie Cecil and Geoff Huffer, among others at home and abroad, along with current town handler Luca Cumani.

During his time in racing Stuart has been lucky enough to work with several top class racehorses, including 1995 Champion Hurdle winner Alderbrook, when under the care of Cecil, and the Huffer trained Cockney Rebel, winner of the 2007 2000 Guineas.

“It is brilliant news and in some ways it is like being nominated for an Oscar,” said Stuart.

“Racing has been very good to me over the years and even now I still get that buzz when I go racing.

“I owe a lot to David and Jennie for doing a job I really love.

“It is unbelievable that I have made it through as there are so many people out there that deserve to win it.”

At the other end of the age scale stable lad Ben James will be aiming to lift the David Nicholson Newcomer Award.

Graduating from the British Racing School in 2012 the 19 year old, who hails from Leicester, currently works as a stable lad for trainer William Haggas.

Ben has enjoyed a flying start to his career at Somerville Lodge having received the chance to lead up Harris Tweed for his win in the bet365 Summer Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last year, and Danchai in the John Smith’s Cup at York.

“Just to be nominated in the first place by the boss was nice enough,” said Ben.

“Everybody at the yard has been great. They have helped me a lot to get as far as I have done in the last 14 months.

“Having this on your CV is a great accolade as it is something that potential employers across the world recognise.”

While Newmarket may be better known for its association with action on the track, the vast breeding industry that is located in the area will also be represented at the awards after New England Stud employee Becky Stebbing was announced among the final three names in the running for the Stud Staff prize.

“I am absolutely amazed to have reached the final as there was some amazing people in my category,” said Becky.

“Everyone seems pleased I have reached the final especially the boss,

“I can’t say how I would feel if I did win as I have not thought that far ahead but if I did end up winning I would say a few tears would be shed.”

Completing the list of those representing the area is Tony Garth, work rider for town trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who has been short listed for the Rider/Groom award.

All four will now head down to London on February 25 for interviews with the judging panel before attending an awards ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel, later in the day where the winners will be announced.