Free badge scheme launched for Racing Grooms

Press release – 28 June 2019

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to announce the launch of a new badge scheme in a partnership  between Arena Racing Company (ARC) racecourses and

Headed  by Shelley Perham, Recruitment and Training Co-ordinator at the NTF, the new scheme enables members of to visit an ARC racecourse on up to four occasions per year, including two passes that may be used by guests of the badge holder.

It has been a long-held ambition by the NTF to enable grooms to attend and enjoy race fixtures, and not just work behind the scenes. We want these valued members of the team to experience a day out at the races with friends and family, and have the opportunity to enjoy the sport they contribute to with such dedication.

Shelley Perham,  National Trainers Federation

‘We are grateful to ARC for working with us so proactively on facilitating this badge scheme. was developed by the NTF to communicate value, rewards, and respect to existing racing staff, and this is just the type of reward we want to be sharing with members.

Racing Staff Week is a spotlight under which the industry stakeholders and race-going public can all show our gratitude for the dedicated care of our much-loved racehorses. It is this work ethic and commitment which makes the quantity and quality of racing on offer in Britain, possible. We look forward to seeing staff enjoying a race day from the stands and with friends and family very soon.’

Mark Spincer, Operations Director of ARC

‘We’re really pleased to be introducing this new badge scheme for Racing Grooms that will sit alongside the ones we already operate for Owners with the ROA.  The team at and the NTF have developed a really useful resource for Racing Grooms working in British Racing and we hope that this scheme will offer some enjoyable afternoons and evenings out for them, their friends and families at our racecourses.’

The ARC Badge Scheme will be eligible for over 500 fixtures across the 16 ARC racecourses per year.  In 2019, racing fixtures featuring live music at Wolverhampton (Madness and Jess Glynne, 30 and 31 August) and Doncaster (James on Saturday 17 August) will be included in the scheme.

To access the badge scheme, racing grooms must be signed up to which is free and simple to do. For the full terms and conditions for the ARC Badge Scheme, please visit or


For any further information or queries, please contact Shelley Perham,

National Trainers Federation, 9 High St, Lambourn, Hungerford RG17 8XL

High res imagery available on request

About, a new website and resource focused entirely on the rewarding career of racing staff. The site is designed to address recruitment and retention of young people in horse racing with a two fold mission;

  1. Communicate value, rewards, and respect to existing racing staff
  2. Inspire and inform potential racing staff about the invaluable role of racing grooms, and how to get involved.

Made possible through funding from Racing Foundation, the website is a real resource for all; racing staff, stakeholders and employers and can be utilised to complement the existing careers advice services. It is vital that the industry seeks to attract, engage with, mentor, inspire and care for the racing grooms, on which 14,000 horses (source: British Horseracing Authority) in training in Britain, rely on. The site serves as both an information service and signpost; to direct users to training providers, health and wellbeing support, job boards, and the relevant industry bodies. also serves to inspire newcomers into the industry, dispelling myths about the roles of racing staff, highlighting the real perks and benefits, and career progression opportunities. ensures that grooms have a central resource to access all the information they need to embark on, or develop their career.

There are two elements to the website, a front end with all the information on how to become a groom and to inspire anyone exploring racing groom as a career choice. Then there is a community hub, which is free to join. The hub is really dedicated to those serious about working as a groom, or are already doing so. It highlights exclusive rewards, access to trainer and racecourse information, health and wellbeing support, further information on training options and providers, and even has a unique CV and cover letter building tool.

About ARC

Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is the largest racecourse operator in the UK. In 2019 ARC Group racecourses will host 570 fixtures with 1.2 million people attending racing at one of ARC’s racecourses each year.

ARC is made up of the following sixteen racecourses: Bath, Brighton, Chepstow, Doncaster, Ffos Las, Fontwell Park, Great Yarmouth, Hereford, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Royal Windsor, Sedgefield, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

ARC runs four of the six all-weather racecourses in the UK offering three different types of surface for horses to run on: Polytrack at Lingfield Park, fibresand at Southwell Racecourse and tapeta at Newcastle and Wolverhampton Racecourses – the only tapeta racing surfaces in Europe.

Further information about ARC can be found at

The EU Settlement Scheme is live

The EU Settlement Scheme is fully open. Now is the time to support your EU nationals to ensure they get the status they need to stay in the UK after Brexit for as long as they wish.

The service has been designed to make it as simple as possible for EU citizens and their family members to apply. During the public test phase earlier this year, over 200,000 applications were received from citizens of all 27 EU countries:

  • 95% of applicants successfully used the mobile phone app to prove their identity remotely, most in under 10 minutes
  • 88% of applicants were able to have their UK residence automatically checked by providing their National Insurance number

Your EU employees can apply to the Settlement Scheme free of charge. Applicants only need to prove their identity, demonstrate their UK residence, and declare any criminal convictions. You can find full guidance for them at: There are Android and Apple apps for proving their identity. Or they can visit an identity scanner location to help them complete this part of the application process or post document for verification. The EU Settlement Resolution Centre is available to advise. Telephone: 0300 123 7379

Protecting your EU employees’ right to stay in the UK

While the UK’s exit date from the EU has now been delayed on a couple of occasions, with the earliest ‘No Deal’ date now on 31st October, the UK Government scheme for EU citizens and their families to apply for settled status in the UK beyond any Transition period has now fully opened for applications. The Scheme will be open for registrations until June 2021.

Details on how the Scheme operates can be found here and the employer toolkit to help provide applicants with information can be found here.

We have been sending you information about the Settlement Scheme for some time in our news resources. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you and your employees need more support with the process.

2019 Lycetts Team Champion Award winners celebrated at Institute of Directors

Jedd O’Keeffe and Tom Dascombe were announced yesterday as the 2019 winners of the Lycetts Team Champion Award, which celebrates the British racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management.

The announcement was made at a ceremony at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall, London, where the winning yards were presented with their trophy and awarded a £4,000 prize for each yard to benefit and support their teams. ITV Racing presenter Sally Ann Grassick hosted the ceremony.

Collecting the award for husband Jedd, Andrea O’Keeffe said “”Firstly it should be Jedd standing here but he has flu – the human version! – so he is really sorry he can’t be here.


“It means the absolute world but it’s really about these guys and the team that we have who are amazing. We love working with them, they just pull out all the stops in every respect. This whole process has been a really good thing for us to go through as a team. We can’t believe we’ve won and to hear the comments on the other yards you are sitting here thinking ‘there is no way we are going to win!’ because everyone is doing such amazing work in their yards too.”

Tom Dascombe, playing down his role in the nomination, said “”I think we have a good team spirit. It’s really all down to the team and nothing to do with me. This award is for the team and is not for me.”_I2I7438







The National Trainers Federation (NTF) and Lycetts Insurance Brokers created the Lycetts Team Champion Award to:

  • Deliver praise and a sense of achievement for the racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management
  • Showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together
  • Spread the message about safe working practices
  • Improve recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful management practices and encouraging their wider adoption among racehorse trainers.

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. They include effective recruitment and induction systems, a safe working environment, leadership, communication and management structures, developing staff to fulfil their potential, and rewarding achievement. Development of The Winning Approach and the award was funded with the help of The Racing Foundation.

Yogi Breisner, renowned for his stellar accomplishments as a competitor and team leader in the field of Three Day Eventing, chaired the judging panel and presented the prizes. Commenting on the judges’ experience of the awards and the assessment, Breisner said, “In this, the second year of the Lycetts Team Champion Award, it’s very encouraging to see how a lot of trainers have embraced the concept of the Award and have upped their game and improved from the already high standard that we saw last year.”

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said, “We received another very strong set of nomnations for this second edition of the Lycetts Team Champion Award. Congratulations to this year’s winners who set an amazing example but let’s remember that there are now 52 trainers (10% of all licensed yards) who are accredited with a star rating to show their business operates to a recognised best practice standard for staff management. ”


Notes for editors:


The short lists for the two categories were:

40+ horses Fewer than 40 horses
Andrew Balding Nick Alexander
Tom Dascombe Dan Kübler
Warren Greatrex Jedd O’Keeffe
Richard Hughes Richard Phillips

 Industry standard

A copy of The Winning Approach, the award nomination form and an explanation of the award can be found on the NTF website here. The Lycetts Team Champion Award promotes practices that are most closely aligned with strengthening the team ethos.



Lycetts Team Champion Award presentation at Institute of Directors on 28 February

In a change to last year’s AGM format, the Lycetts Team Champion Award presentation ceremony will begin at 4.00pm at the Institute of Directors following the AGM lunch. To celebrate the winners, there will be a drinks reception after the presentations.

This allows us to use the space in the beautiful Nash Room at the IoD for our members’ meeting and make best use of the staging and audio-visual facilities. The break for lunch enables the IoD staff to change the room layout for the awards.

Congratulations to the yards that reached the shortlist to be a Lycetts Team Champion winner. Yard visits to the following trainers are underway:

40+ horses Fewer than 40 horses
Andrew Balding Nick Alexander
Tom Dascombe Dan Kubler
Warren Greatrex Jedd O’Keeffe
Richard Hughes Richard Phillips

All trainers whose yards have been awarded a star rating under the award system are now on display on the award page on the NTF website here. The 2019 award logos have been produced will be sent to each trainer whose yard earned a rating in the current award year.

Shortlists announced for 2019 Lycetts Team Champion Award


17 December 2018


The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to announce the two shortlists for the 2019 Lycetts Team Champion Award.

Lycetts Team Champion Award celebrates the racehorse training yards that have developed a strong team ethos through the highest standards of staff management and safe working practices. There are more details on the NTF website at this link:

The award has two categories – one for yards with 40 or more horses; and one for yards with fewer than 40 horses. The shortlists (in alphabetical order) are:

40+ horses Fewer than 40 horses
Andrew Balding Nick Alexander
Tom Dascombe Dan Kubler
Warren Greatrex Jedd O’Keeffe
Richard Hughes Richard Phillips

Through the scoring of assessment criteria, nominating yards that reach a sufficient number of points earn a star rating: 1 represents good team ethos and staff engagement; 2 is very good; and 3 is excellent. All the shortlisted yards were awarded 3-star status. Competition was extremely strong and the standard of nominations very high resulting in a higher proportion of 3-star nominations than in the inaugural award last year. A full list of star-rated yards will appear on the NTF and Racing Groom websites shortly.

The judges would like to emphasise how impressed they were with the very high standard of nominations demonstrating the transformation of management practices in racing yards.

Yogi Breisner, Chairman of the judging panel, commented, “It’s been a real pleasure to be involved with Lycetts Team Champion Award again, and it’s great to see the progress from last year and also some very exciting new applications.”

Laura Whyte, former Director of HR at John Lewis, commented “There were some very strong entries this year and it was good to see some of the yards build on their submissions from twelve months ago. I’m really looking forward to our yard visits!”

In the next phase of the award, the judges will visit the shortlisted yards during January 2019 to meet the team members and get first-hand experience of the practices that have been described in the first stage nominations. The winners will be announced on 28th February 2019 at a ceremony at the prestigious headquarters of the Institute of Directors.

Speaking on behalf of the NTF, Chief Executive Rupert Arnold said, “We would like to thank the yards who all put considerable effort into their nominations. It shows that even at this very busy time of year, trainers and staff are keen to publicise how they are adopting best practice and pulling together to promote staff retention.”


Notes for editors:

The statistics for the number of horses in each yard are provided by Weatherbys and based on a rolling monthly average from 1st January to 1st December 2018.

The judges are Yogi Breisner, Simon Christian, Dana Mellor, Kevin Parsons and Laura Whyte. Before judging began, they each declared conflicts of interest and are not judging any yards with which they have a commercial, employment or personal interest.

The Lycetts Group has grown to become one of the UK’s leading independently-operated insurance brokers with 14 offices in the UK. Lycetts specialises in farm and estate insurance and also provides bespoke financial services, commercial and bloodstock insurance advice.

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:

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: .

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to

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 . 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.