First Lycetts Team Champion Award winners announced

Nick Alexander’s Kinneston yard from Fife in Scotland and Warren Greatrex at Uplands in Lambourn, Berkshire were announced today as the inaugural 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 following the National Trainers Federation AGM at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall, London.

The winning yards were also awarded a £4,000 prize for each yard to benefit and support their teams.

Catch Bissett, Assistant to Nick Alexander, said “It is an honour to accept the prize on behalf of the team at home. They are a credit to the yard and the industry as a whole. The Lycetts Team Champion Award is a fantastic initiative which really reflects well on the staffing at the heart of the industry. The application process gave us an opportunity to look into what we do and think about how we can make improvements for the future.”


Warren Greatrex said “I am really proud to win the inaugural Lycetts Team Champion Award. We are so lucky to have the staff we do. I feel our team are great ambassadors for the yard and British horseracing.”


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 and positive working environment, 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, “It has been a very interesting exercise to be one of the judges and it has been a privilege to be involved in what I feel is a fantastic initiative by Lycetts and the NTF. I have been very impressed at the high standard of the applicants and it has shown that in many yards there is a very high level of work etiquette and team spirit.”

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said, “I am delighted at how enthusiastically trainers and their staff have responded to this new award. By participating, they have opened their businesses to scrutiny by knowledgeable professionals and demonstrated that British racehorse trainers offer great places to work.

“We have established a strong base from which to build the award for the future. I know other trainers are already keen to follow their colleagues’ example next year and we have acquired a bundle of knowledge and lessons to share with them.”



Lycetts Team Champion Awards to be streamed live on Facebook

This year’s Annual General Meeting is set to witness a double first – the inaugural Lycetts Team Champion Award presentations and the first live streaming of an NTF event.  The Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED will host 90 members and guests from 11.30am. The AGM at 12noon will be followed by the announcement of the winners of the Lycetts Team Champion Award and presentation of prizes by chairman of the judging panel, Yogi Breisner.

While trainers on the shortlist and some of their staff will be attending for the ceremony, it is great news for those back home in the yards that they will now be able to join in the excitement of the announcements.

The live stream is courtesy of NTF Racing Diary and Trainer Magazine publisher Anderson and Co and will shown on their Facebook page

Also being shown is the address from Jim Chiapetta from Flair, the company that makes equine nasal strips.

Who are the winners going to be? – Choose your Lycetts Team Champion

There are only a few days to go now before the first Lycetts Team Champion Award winners are announced on Thursday 22nd February at the Institute of Directors, the venue for the NTF’s Annual General Meeting.

Take a look at our film below to get an insight into why the eight shortlisted yards reached the final stage. The winner in each category wins £4000, courtesy of sponsors Lycetts, to be spent on items of their choice to support the team.


Funding for trainers to train older recruits

Would you like to recruit and train someone over the age of 19 but worry about the expense of carrying an inexperienced employee?

Over the last two years, the NTF and BHA have piloted an “employer led training programme” (ELT) aimed at new entrants to the industry over the age of 19.  Training for new staff in this age range is currently limited and restricted at the racing schools to those who may be able to benefit from attracting Government funding.

The ELT Programme enables a trainer to take on a new recruit aged over 19 on an employed basis and apply for funding of up to £2,500 to support the training to bring them up to the required industry standard. These recruits may come from a variety of backgrounds with or without established horse care skills but need racing specific training. The training should be delivered over a 30-week period with milestone payments made at agreed intervals.

Skills are recorded against a ‘Skills Passport’, to be completed by the employer and employee and will not involve external assessment or qualification achievement as a mandatory component of the training.

We have a number of trainers already using the ELT programme and if you are interested in taking part contact Shelley Perham, the NTF’s Recruitment and Training Coordinator, for further details on 07753 982052 or email

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.

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.

Jump Jockeys Seminars

All trainers who employ a 3lb and 5lb claiming Conditional jockey should note that the mandatory Jump Jockeys Seminars take place on Tuesday 26th September at Hilton Hotel, Warwick and Wednesday 18th October at Mercure Hotel, Wetherby.

Jockeys should have received a letter about the seminars, which start at 9.30am prompt.

Late arrivals and non-attendees will be required to submit their reasons in writing to the Disciplinary Department.

Please ensure your Conditional jockey has booked on to one of the seminars by Friday 25th August.