Launch of 2020 Lycetts Team Champion Award and Accreditation


7 October 2019



  • The Lycetts Team Champion Award showcases trainers’ yards which display a strong team ethos
  • Using a bespoke industry standard, the judging criteria demonstrate modern management practices used by racehorse trainers in Britain
  • New structure in 2020 with growing emphasis on accreditation which has been shown to support staff retention and racecourse success. 

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) and sponsors Lycetts Insurance Brokers are pleased to announce the launch of the third Lycetts Team Champion Award. The 2020 award has a new look as a result of feedback from the first two years.

The nomination period has been extended so all trainers and their teams have the opportunity to review the way they work and produce the strongest evidence using simplified forms.

Nominations may be made from Monday 7th October 2019 to 3rd April 2020. A new award presentation ceremony will be aligned with Racing Staff Week in July 2020.

The Lycetts Team Champion Award celebrates and rewards racehorse training yards that develop a high performance team using the highest standards of employee management, including safe working practices.

The accreditation system continues to grow in profile, allowing trainers to benchmark their business and use a trusted quality mark to attract staff, owners and sponsorship.

Over the first two years of the award, over 50 training yards have acquired accreditation through participating in the award. Research conducted for a Racing Industry MBA shows that participating yards have strengthened their staff retention rates and combine this with growing racecourse success – “Happy Staff Produce Winners.”

A £4000 prize awaits the winner in both categories – yards with 40 or more horses, and yards with fewer than 40 horses. Shortlists of four yards in each category will be announced in April 2020.

How to enter

Watch our video “Guide for Teams 2020” and access nomination forms via the NTF website at


Listen to last year’s shortlisted Lycetts Team Champion Trainers reflect on the benefits of entering this unique award on this video

Piers Plunket, Divisional Director, Lycetts,  “Lycetts is delighted to be supporting the Lycetts Team Champion Award for the third year running. It is wonderful to see the accredited yards demonstrating tangible benefits through improved retention rates and racecourse success. I encourage every trainer to enter.”

Commenting on the new structure, Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, said, “We have listened to feedback about the nomination process and redesigned the award so more yards can participate. There is growing awareness of the benefits to be gained – in a nutshell, it’s good for business.”

Notes for editors:

The MBA research was carried out by Debbie Grey, a former employee of the National Association of Racing Staff.

The Thoroughbred Horseracing Industry MBA (THIMBA) is delivered by the University of Liverpool Management School and is supported by The Racing Foundation.

About Lycetts

The Lycetts Group was founded in 1961 and has grown to become one of the UK’s leading independently-operated insurance brokers.

Lycetts specialises in farm and estate insurance and provides bespoke financial services, commercial and bloodstock insurance advice. It has 17 offices in the UK, with its headquarters based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers. For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to . For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail:


Guidelines on overweight “two-horseboxes”

In a recent conversation with NARS, concerns were raised about staff being asked to drive overweight boxes, in particular boxes stalled for two but with insufficient payload to legally carry two horses.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires all businesses to ensure their vehicles are not overloaded – as well as the risk of action being taken, the handling of the vehicle may well be affected. 

The manufacturer’s or ministry plates (usually fixed to the inside of the passenger door frame) specify the weights that should be adhered to on the vehicle. These weights must not be exceeded on public roads and it is important to also appreciate that these weights include the driver, passengers, horses and fuel. It is a good idea to take the vehicle with a full fuel tank and any equipment that is usually carried to a weighbridge to ascertain how much payload is left for the horse or horses.  Many HGV operating companies have weighbridges available for public use.

The VOSA guide to horseboxes is available on the NTF website and gives further information.

Job description templates now available

Template job descriptions for the roles set out in the NTF/NARS Memorandum of Agreement are now available in the Members Area of our website. Go to the ‘new employees’ area of the employment section where you will also find a short explanation about using these templates.

These documents, which cover the main pay scale headings from trainee to supervisory staff, are an addition to the range of template documents available to NTF members. As they are templates, it will be for individual businesses to decide on what each role requires but we hope they may be of help where you want a starting point. 

Racing Club promotion and tickets for racing staff at Ascot Ownership Weekend

Ascot Racecourse is holding its Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend on 22nd and 23rd November offering racegoers a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and find out more about the excitement of being involved in ownership.

Promote your racing club/syndicate

Trainers interested in promoting their racing clubs/syndicates and their business can take free 2mx2m pitch space in the Grandstand. Contact Olivia Hills on or 01344 878529 as soon as possible.

Ticket offer for racing staff via

As part of the weekend Ascot are offering a limited number of complimentary tickets to racing staff through for Saturday 23rd November. The racing includes a pair of Grade 2 contests in the shape of the Coral Hurdle and the Christy 1965 Chase, where Altior and Cyrname are due to clash.

Please let your staff know about this offer, which they can access by registering or logging into the Racing Groom hub at or email

Drive smart video tells a powerful story

A new Jockey Matters film about driving safely ( has some important messages about ensuring that jockeys allow enough time to get to the races. It includes some important points for trainers to bear in mind.

  • If you call a jockey to discuss a ride and you know the jockey is driving at the time, arrange to call back when the jockey isn’t driving.
  • If you employ an apprentice or conditional jockey, you have a duty of care to make sure they leave enough time to get to the races.
  • Many of the video’s lessons about safe driving apply equally to trainers as jockeys.

Take care, take time.

Updated template letter for accommodation licence

We have updated the template accommodation licences for a house and for a room in the house to incorporate a new clause which would enable the trainer to request that the employee vacates the accommodation where there is a risk to other occupants or the business.  The licences can be found in the Members Area of the NTF website under Employment Matters.

Whilst we hope that you never have to exercise this clause, it may be of use where there has been, for example, an allegation relating to a serious safeguarding incident and the employee lives on site with young workers and the risk cannot be otherwise managed.   Being asked to vacate their accommodation is going to have a significant impact on the employee potentially rendering them homeless. There could also be a risk of a breach of contract/unfair dismissal claim if the employee believes they have been treated very unfairly, so do use with caution – it is only designed to be used where there is a real risk and you consider it necessary to protect individuals and meet your duty of care.

Staff training events brought to your region

The Regional Staff Development Programme brings training opportunities close to your yard. It’s a great initiative, responding to racing employees’ desire to enhance their skills; this in turn leads to better job satisfaction.

Making these opportunities available to your staff will earn valuable points in your yard’s Lycetts Team Champion Award nomination.

Equine specific disinfectants to be used at racecourses

One of the NTF’s objectives in the past year has been to improve the standards of hygiene in racecourse stables. With collaboration from three northern racecourses, President Ann Duffield instigated some research by the Irish Equine Centre, which looked at the cleanliness of racecourse stables. This led to discussions at the BHA Racecourse Committee about the method of cleaning stables. The Defra approved disinfectants maybe effective but it is uncertain how effective they are against equine specific pathogens. We are pleased to confirm that in the most recent round of changes to the BHA General Instructions (BHAGI) racecourses must use equine specific chemical disinfectants when carrying out a Level 1 clean.

The suggested equine specific disinfectants are:

  • Equizar
  • Steri-7
  • Equisept
  • Virkon S
  • Stable Shield

The disinfectants listed have been tested against common equine pathogens and diseases such as Strep Equi(strangles), Rhodococcus Equi, Trichophython (equine strain of ringworm), Aspergillus mould (causes RAO and bleeding), Equine Flu virus and Equine Herpes virus type 1 and 4. The disinfectants listed have been tested by the Irish Equine Centre and the Animal Health Trust against equine bacteria, fungi and against equine viruses.