Grand National course walk available this weekend

BHA Jockey Coach, Brian Harding, will be available on Saturday morning to walk the Grand National course with any riders who would like to do so. Jockeys who are having their first or second ride over the Grand National course will walk it with Brian; and likewise any with less experience over the Grand National course.

Harry Cobden was recently quoted about the value of the course walk: “Aintree trialled the course walks with a Jockey Coach at the Grand National meeting and I thought it was a great idea, so walked the course with Carl Llewellyn on the Friday ahead of the Topham Chase. I subsequently won on Ultragold and Carl’s advice and insight proved invaluable, so much so I walked the course with him again the next day before the Grand National! Whilst luck wasn’t to be repeated I did complete the course on Just A Par and I couldn’t recommend this initiative enough.”

Brian will be available from first thing in the morning and is happy to walk the course as many times as necessary. We hope that you are willing to encourage jockeys to utilise Brian and his experience. Brian’s numbers are 017684 80960, 07968 863068 for anyone who would like to liaise direct with regard to walking time.

Tell us about your great team and win £4000

So often now trainers attribute successes on the racecourse to the great team they have in the yard. On the back of this the NTF created the Lycetts Team Champion Award and there is now one month remaining to submit nominations (deadline is 1st December.)

All trainers were sent a brochure in September containing a detailed explanation of the Award, a full copy of The Winning Approach, and a sample nomination form. All these documents are on the NTF website here. Use the downloadable nomination form on the website for your entry, which must be with us by 1st December 2017. (The judging panel will be announced shortly.) The winners will be presented with their awards at the NTF AGM on Thursday 22nd February 2018 at the Institute of Directors in London.

Our aim is to praise the best managed yards and showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together. We are supporting trainers by developing a framework of best practice called The Winning Approach, which forms the basis of the judging criteria for the Award. Together we can improve stable staff recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful ways in which racehorse trainers manage their staff and encouraging wider adoption of those practices.

This project is jointly funded by the Racing Foundation as part of its £1m investment in people development within racing.

Auto enrolment rules on opting out

During inspections carried out by The Pension Regulator across the country, there have been a number of instances where employers had agreed to opt staff out of a workplace pension before they had been enrolled.

If employers do this, they are not complying with their duties in the correct way and may risk a fine if they appear to be making the decision to opt out on behalf of their staff. Eligible staff must be enrolled first – they can only opt out (if they wish to) after being enrolled.

Employers need to follow all the steps in the TPR Duties Checker, including setting up a pension scheme, putting eligible staff into it and writing to them, before they can choose whether to stay in or opt out. See the TPR website for more information on the key steps to follow.

Lycetts Team Champion Award nominations now open


5 September 2017




  • New award will showcase yards where staff management promotes a team ethos
  • New industry standard for staff management aims to support retention of racing staff and demonstrate positive management approach by trainers in Britain
  • Management training module to strengthen leadership and sustainable business practices
  • All three initiative supported by The Racing Foundation

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is pleased to announce that the window for nominations is now open for the Lycetts Team Champion Award – a new award in British horseracing. The closing date is Friday 1st December.

Lycetts Team Champion Award has been created to celebrate the training yards that have a strong team ethos. The Lycetts Team Champion mission is to showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together, spread the message about safe working practices, and improve recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful ways in which racehorse trainers manage their staff and encouraging wider adoption of those practices.

An explanation of the process and the nomination form are available on the NTF website at . These will also be sent to trainers by post this week.

Lycetts Team Champion Award has two categories – for trainers with 40 horses or more; and for trainers with fewer than 40 horses. The winning yard in each category will receive £4000 to be spent in a way that enhances the team. Teams scoring above given points thresholds will achieve recognition through a grading system and have the right to use a bespoke logo to promote their business.

The winners will be announced at the NTF’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 22nd February 2018.

The Winning Approach

The questions in the award nomination form are drawn from The Winning Approach, a new industry standard for the best ways to engage and motivate staff in racing yards. Consultants Sport & Beyond were instrumental in its development and it is based on research showing that, if implemented, this standard can maximise retention.

Many trainers are already operating in ways that meet The Winning Approach standard. Rather than having to develop new ways of working, The Winning Approach will allow them to recognise that many of their informal practices, regimes and routines already go towards meeting the standard, which provides clear guidance on ways to implement:

  1. Effective recruitment and induction systems
  2. A safe environment
  3. A positive working environment
  4. Development and Training of the team
  5. Reward and Recognition

Building a Sustainable Business

Trainers looking for support with the award have the opportunity with their senior staff to attend a free management training module created for the NTF by Peter Burnet of The Peplow Group. With the title ‘Building a Sustainable Business’ the module is about sharing ideas, tips and support to match the team award criteria. It will take place at three venues this autumn/winter: Newmarket on 26th October, Lambourn on 2nd November and Middleham on 21st November.

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said, “It is important for the NTF, as the body supporting employers, to take a lead role in initiatives to tackle staff shortages. The workplace is our main focus and the Team Champion Award integrates with several projects we are working on relating to management practices and employee engagement for racing grooms and riders.

“We are looking for ways to recognise how trainers and their staff acting as a team develop the foundations for a successful racing stable. Team Champion aims to encourage wider adoption of those ways of working and celebrate the stables that do it well.”

Lycetts, a leading insurance broker specialising in the protection of all types of equine businesses, is supporting the award with prize money funding and promotion. Lycetts sees the award as the perfect way of raising awareness of safe working practices that will lead to a significant reduction in the risk of workplace injuries.

Piers Plunket Associate Director at Lycetts, said: “Racehorse trainers and their staff make a great contribution to the world of British horseracing and we want to shine a spotlight on all the hard work that is carried out on these yards.

“Our mission is to instill a sense of achievement in the best managed yards, as well as showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together. In addition, we see the award as the perfect way of raising awareness of safe working practices to help reduce the risk of workplace injuries.”

Welcoming the award, trainer Dan Kubler said, “As the old saying goes happy people make for happy horses. Teamwork is the foundation of our success on the racecourse. Although the nature of working with animals presents certain challenges Claire and I work very hard to create an environment where the team can thrive, as do many of our colleagues in the training ranks. It’s great to see the introduction of this award and the standards that recognise the efforts of trainers and their staff working together. Hopefully it will highlight the great working environment of many racing yards and continue to improve the industry as a whole.

Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Award winner Laura Winstanley commented, “I really like the concept of this award as I think it will encourage trainers to look into developing a Human Resources-type role in their yards. It is an important development looking to the future and will help to promote our working conditions, which are favourable to other equine industries, and help to further employment in our industry.”

The Racing Foundation’s support has been crucial to the three initiatives described above. Its baseline survey into recruitment and retention has informed their development and without its generous grant, the projects would not be taking place.

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of The Racing Foundation said, “Thanks to the substantial input from trainers, the survey we commissioned at the end of last year helped build a clearer picture of the progress being made and the challenges we continue to face regarding the recruitment and retention of stable staff. It highlighted the vital role employers can play in encouraging training and development to improve both skills and retention.

“We fully support the initiatives being developed by the NTF, which will enable trainers to provide a pro-active response to staffing issues and hope that as many trainers as possible are able to attend one of the training sessions later in the year.”


Notes for Editors

 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 15 offices in the UK, with its headquarters based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

All available profits from Lycetts are passed onto the company’s ultimate owner, the charity Allchurches Trust, which in turn invests them back into the community. This structure offers security and business stability for Lycetts while fostering an ethical and long-term approach and a high-level of client trust.

About The Racing Foundation

The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the charity, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297). Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted just over £7.6million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education, training and participation, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.

Peter Burnet, of the Peplow Group, has delivered learning and development programmes for individuals, teams and organisations since 1992 and has run the successful Management Academy for Racing for the past decade.

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:



Auto enrolled employees

Weatherbys will shortly be sending out the pension run statements for the Friends Life Aviva pension run for 1st September 2017.     If you have auto enrolled your employees please check the pension statements to ensure that no contributions are being collected for employees now in your auto enrolment scheme.   If there are any then please let Weatherbys know straight away before the contribution is sent to Friends Life for processing.

Last Conditional Jockeys Licence Course of 2017

The Conditional Jockey’s Licence Course coming up next month (4-15 September) at the BRS is the last of 2017 so the BHA wants to make sure trainers are aware that this is their last option for new Conditionals looking to attend the course and be licensed this year. There are still places available at the moment.

  • All new Conditionals (or those currently holding Category ‘A’ Amateur Permits who wish to become Conditional) are required to attend the full 2-week Course (plus Pre-Assessment beforehand);
  • Those holding Category ‘B’ Amateur Permits who wish to “advance” to Conditional status are required to attend the second week of this Licence Course (from 11th to 15th September).
  • Any questions should be directed to Licensing Team at the BHA on 0207 152 0145.