2019 pay negotiations result in more flexible working week

The NTF and NARS have concluded annual negotiations on pay and terms of employment.

This year the aim has been to reflect changes trainers have made to working patterns and remove barriers to more flexible working arrangements. With effect from Monday 10th December 2018

  1. Reference to the “consolidated wage/week” will be removed from the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
  2. As is the case already, basic rates of pay will relate to a 40-hour week.
  3. Overtime to cover weekends will be contractually required and is to be agreed at a domestic level. Hours worked in excess of 40 hours will be paid at a single overtime rate of time and one half (i.e. the overtime rate for Sundays will be reduced from double time to time and one half – the existing rate for Saturday evening hours.)
  4. Pay for time away from the yard outside normal working hours remains at £7.83 per hour (rising to £8.21 in April 2019, in line with GNMW announced in the budget.)
  5. To compensate for the reduced Sunday overtime rate AND to deliver a 2.2% increase to racing industry minimum rates of pay including weekend working, the minimum basic rates for 40 hours will be increased by 4%.
  6. Trainers paying in excess of the minimum rates have discretion whether to increase their pay rates. As stated in 4 above, the guide annual pay increase is 2.2%.
  7. The NTF has taken legal advice on the effect of these terms on existing contracts of employment. It is not the intention to disadvantage any of your current employees affected by the new terms – for example, an employee who receives the overtime rate for only working weekends or before having worked 40 hours a week. If you think this may apply to any of your employees, please contact the NTF for specific legal advice.
  8. Trainers will notice that clause 4.2 of the new agreement (numbered 3.2 in the current agreement) concerning “Hours of Work”, no longer refers to the right of an employee to have one weekend in two free from duties; this is to reflect the changes some trainers have made to working patterns at weekends and offering more time off during the week.  Trainers must ensure that their employees have adequate daily and weekly rest breaks (see the NTF NARS guidelines.)

An updated MOA is on the NTF website under Working for a Racehorse Trainer.

NTF promoting the role of racing grooms

Trainers often tell us at NTF meetings how important it is to promote the role of racing grooms as a skilled and valued occupation. For this reason we have created a new website called www.racinggroom.com . You will see that the website projects a positive message about working in a racing yard and offers a clear route into a job with a trainer.

To help prospective employees to find a trainer near them, the website provides a “trainer locator”. Trainers offering work experience will be listed (let us know if you would like to be added) and Lycetts Team Champion Award star-rated trainers highlighted. If you feature, you can expect to receive speculative job applications and requests for work experience.

Existing employees can sign up to a hub where they receive news relating to their role and access a range of information including about training opportunities. Rewards and discounts are being negotiated on their behalf.

Shelley Perham, the NTF’s consultant, came up with the concept, which the Racing Foundation helped us to fund. So far it has only had a soft launch; preparations are being made for a public launch in the New Year.

Forthcoming changes to test parameters for five prohibited substances

The BHA Board has approved changes to the testing protocol for Prednisolone, Testosterone, Cetirizine Hydroxyzine, Bufotenine and DMT. Simple explanations are below with the effective dates. If you need more advice, please ask your veterinary surgeon.

Prednisolone: decrease in screening limit from 25ng/ml to 10ng/ml in urine. Published Detection Time to remain at 48 hours. Effective 1st January 2019.

Testosterone: introduction of a threshold of 100 picograms free testosterone per millilitre in plasma for fillies and mares (unless in foal.) Effective 1st January 2019

Cetirizine: introduction of a new screening limit of 100ng/ml in urine and 0.25ng/ml in plasma. New Detection Time of 96 hours (4 days.) Effective 1st December 2018.


Substance Preparation Dose Route of


Detection Time


Cetirizine Allacan® (Bristol Laboratories Ltd) 190mg twice

daily for 4.5 days

Oral 96


Hydroxyzine Atarax® (Alliance



500mg twice

daily for 4.5 days

Oral 96


Prednisolone Prednidale®

25mg (Dechra)

1mg/kg, single


Oral ≤ 48^

A full list of official Detection Times established by the European Horseracing Scientific Liaison Committee is available on the BHA website here.

Emma Sayer wins 2018 Alex Scott Future Trainers Travel Scholarship


– 26th November 2018


Work Placement with Graham Motion in the USA

Emma Sayer, successful amateur rider and assistant to her mother Dianne Sayer, is the winner of the 2018 Alex Scott Future Trainers Travel Scholarship.

Judging from a short list of four, the panel was particularly struck by Emma’s enthusiasm for learning and commitment to preparing herself for the demanding role a licensed trainer.

With the aid of the £3000 award, Emma will spend her work placement in the USA with Graham Motion, beginning in Florida in February and staying through the stable’s transition to Kentucky in the Spring.

Reacting to having won the award, Emma said, “I am so delighted to be awarded the Alex Scott Scholarship. My objectives are to work hard, learn lots and meet as many people as possible. Winning the scholarship is a chance to put these into practice and I am going to grasp the opportunity with both hands.”

The Alex Scott Scholarship aims to support those who are planning on a career training racehorses in Britain by promoting their education and improvement of their skills outside the United Kingdom.

The Scholarship is funded by the Tim Dunlop Memorial Travelling Scholarship (TDMS.) TDMS is a charity set up by friends of Tim, in his memory, after he was tragically killed in a car accident in France at the age of 21 in 1987. The charity sponsors young people who wish to travel abroad to expand their experience in the thoroughbred industry initially as a prize for the best overall student on the main National Stud course, it now also sponsors a participant on the course.

Lead judge Harry Dunlop said of this year’s winner, “Emma is a hugely enthusiastic person who I am sure will make a good trainer. My brother Ed and I hope the funding from the Alex Scott Scholarship will enable her to achieve this goal.”


Notes for editors:

Alex Scott trained in Newmarket and handled champions Cadeaux Genereux, Sheikh Albadou and the two-year-old Lammtarra. After his death in 1994, Alex Scott’s family and friends set up an Assistant Trainers’ Scholarship giving the winner the chance to spend one month abroad gaining work experience with a trainer in the country of their choice. More details here on the NTF website.

The Scholarship is worth £3000 to the winner. The application process is managed by the National Trainers Federation.

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org


A Christmas present for racing folk, sure to bring a smile

We can’t think of a better way to bring cheer to your Christmas than setting down with Mark Smyly’s book about Peter Walwyn. Published this week, the book recounts the many amusing anecdotes about the much loved and missed Lambourn trainer.

BasilWith profits being donated to the Lambourn Valley Housing Association, copies can be purchased through www.wilderspinmarketing.co.uk/shop or www.lambournopenday.com . Also at

Newmarket Christmas Fair 23-25 November

Beaufort Hunt Christmas Fair 27 November

The Lodge, The Queens, East Garston evening 30 November

Newbury Races Saturday 1st December

Immigration rules up for review

Recent announcements of changes to immigration policy have been followed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) issuing a call for evidence for its review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL.) We will be working on a response with the BHA.

Below are some interesting aspects of the consultation document:

  • The review focuses on job titles rather than occupations.
  • It covers all skill levels from RQF1 upwards (the current minimum level in Tier 2 is RQF6. Work riders were previously assessed at RQF3.)
  • The MAC will host regional events and may then meet industry professionals to discuss occupations and job titles in more detail, including the underlying causes of the shortages and what is being done to address them.
  • To be considered for the SOL, the shortage must be national, not regional or confined to individual employers.
  • Responses must provide evidence.

The MAC is inviting evidence from all occupations at RQF1 and above to get a better understanding of the scale of potential shortages across the whole of the UK labour market.

News Release – Judges announced for The Lycetts Team Champion Award 2019

NEWS RELEASE 7 November 2018

For immediate release


The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to welcome a new member of the judging panel in the run up to the closing date on 3rd December for nominations for the second running of the Lycetts Team Champion Award.

Simon Christian, former successful National Hunt trainer, joins the judges for the 2019 award. With his in-depth knowledge of the training business and experience as an employer, Simon will make an invaluable contribution to the assessment of nominations and yard visits.

Expressing his enthusiasm for Lycetts Team Champion Award, Simon Christian said, “To me, a good relationship between trainer and staff is integral; this truly affects the training of the horse. Merit achieved through this award will stand a stable in good stead, strengthening its reputation for a generation who are inclined to appreciate good treatment towards colleagues, plus an all-round sense of teamwork and respect.”

Lycetts Team Champion Award celebrates the racehorse training yards that have a strong team ethos. By demonstrating the highest standards of staff management currently operating in British yards and the ambition of trainers to modernise the way their businesses work, the award supports staff retention as a key method of addressing skills shortages in racing.

The judging panel comprises people with outstanding experience of the working environment in a racehorse trainer’s yard and first class expertise in human resources and team management.

The judges are:

Yogi Breisner (Chair of the Panel), former World Class Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe for the British Three-Day Event Team.

Simon Christian, former National Hunt trainer, and now a bloodstock adviser.

Dana Mellor, a key figure in establishing the Jockeys Education and Training Scheme.

Kevin Parsons, a highly experienced member of racing staff in some of the most successful yards in British racing.

Laura Whyte, former head of Human Resources for John Lewis

Yogi Breisner, “I am delighted to have been invited to lead the judging panel again for The Lycetts Team Champion Award. Last year’s nominations were so impressive and it will be fascinating to see how teams are being developed and managed in more training yards.”

Fuller biographies appear below.

The NTF would like to thank the judges for their support of the Lycetts Team Champion Award and their time and effort in assessing the nominations.

Lycetts Team Champion has two categories according to the number of horses in training in the nominated yard (40+ and fewer than 40.) Each category winner will receive £4000 to be used in a way that benefits and supports the team. The closing date for nominations is Monday 3rd December 2018 and the winners will be presented with their awards on Thursday 28th February 2019 at the Institute of Directors in London.

Judges’ profiles

 Yogi Breisner

Yogi Breisner has had an outstanding career in the world of Three-Day Eventing both as a rider and a coach. He was a member of the Swedish International Three-Day Event Team at European Championship and Olympic level. From 1994 to 2000 Yogi was a member of British Horse Society’s Training and Education Committee and until 2016 was World Class Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe for the British Three-Day Event Team.  Other roles include leading British Eventing’s Elite Coach Programme.

Yogi Breisner is also well known in horseracing for his advisory roles at the British Racing School; development of UKCC for jockey coaches; and advising trainers on schooling jump horses and coaching of work riders.

Simon Christian

Simon Christian has spent over forty-five years in the racing world. He started by working in top class stables and became assistant to Fulke Walwyn. He held a trainer’s licence for twelve years, with winners at the Cheltenham, Aintree, and Punchestown festivals. More recently, he has advised racehorse owners on purchasing many successful horses, including Group winners. He visits many racing stables and attends bloodstock sales in Britain and abroad.


Simon has also served on Sandown Park’s race-day committee and worked in a leading hospitality company. He retains a great passion for horse racing and interest in its future.

Dana Mellor 

As a trainer’s daughter in Berkshire and an apprentice to Jack Berry in Lancashire, Dana gained valuable insight into the teamwork required to run a successful racing yard.  With a law degree behind her, Dana became a key player in establishing the Jockeys Education & Training Scheme (JETS). She now runs a local musical instrument retail business with responsibility for strategy, finance, recruitment and retention. Dana is also a parent governor at her local school.

Kevin Parsons

Kevin Parsons has been in racing for 18 years full time as an Apprentice, Conditional jockey, Work Rider, Head Lad, Assistant Trainer and Travelling Head Lad. He has worked for some excellent trainers including Chris Wall, David Loder, Roger Varian and Roger Charlton. In November 2012 he took on the role of Sports Coordinator and Union Learn Project Manager for the National Association of Racing Staff and thoroughly enjoys providing staff with education courses to help improve their qualifications and transferable skills.

 Laura Whyte

Laura Whyte was Human Resources Director for John Lewis where she oversaw major change programmes. Laura is now a Non-Executive Director on the British Horseracing Authority Board and is on the Defence People and Training Board for the Ministry of Defence.

 Notes for Editors

About the award 

The assessment criteria for Lycetts Team Champion Award are based on The Winning Approach, a best practice standard developed for the NTF by consultants Sport and Beyond with funding from The Racing Foundation. A copy of The Winning Approach, the award nomination form and an explanation of the award can be found on the NTF website here: https://www.racehorsetrainers.org/industry/teamchampion.asp

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 also provides bespoke financial services, commercial and bloodstock insurance advice. It has 14 offices in the UK, with its headquarters based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For more information see www.lycetts.co.uk

 For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org