Shortlisted finalists announced for Lycetts Team Champion Award

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to announce the two shortlists for the inaugural 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
Tom Dascombe Nick Alexander
Warren Greatrex Martin Keighley
Mark Johnston Seamus Mullins
Dan Skelton Suzy Smith

Under the grading system, all the shortlisted yards are awarded 3-star status. Competition was extremely strong and the standard of nominations very high resulting in other yards also achieving a 1, 2 or 3-star rating.

The judges would like to emphasise how impressed they were with the very high standard of nominations and the remarkable progress taking place in management practices in racing yards.

Laura Whyte, former Director of HR at John Lewis, commented “I thoroughly enjoyed assessing the entries and was impressed at the breadth of initiatives going into recruitment and development at many yards – especially the care taken of our youngest members of staff.  The various recognition schemes such as “employee of the month” and similar show how well some trainers work on celebrating individuals who make a big difference to the team effort. I’m looking forward to visiting the short listed yards to see and learn more about their ways of working.”

Equally complimentary was another judge, Kevin Parsons, Union Learn Project Manager for National Association of Stable Staff, who said ““It has been an absolute pleasure reading through the nomination forms and some fantastic work and practices are going on out there in many yards across the country.”

Dana Mellor added her thoughts on the nominations: “Good business practice is essential in racing yards if trainers want to recruit and retain good staff and the nominations for the award reflect high standards throughout Britain and across the jump/flat divide. We now have an opportunity to harvest this by recognising trainers who are putting people as well as horses first. By rewarding them as role models, good practice can be rolled out to all yards and become part of the culture of racing. It’s a huge step forward.”

n the next phase of the award, the judges will visit the shortlisted yards during January 2018 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 at the NTF Annual General Meeting on 22nd February 2018.

Speaking on behalf of the NTF, Chief Executive Rupert Arnold said, “We would like to thank all the yards who collaborated so well to describe in detail the way they work as a team and are engaged and developed as individuals. The shortlists are a product of the scoring system and while competition for the eight places was intense, yards that have not made the shortlists should be proud of what they are doing in their workplace and will have a star rating to prove their yard is a great place to work.”



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 30th November 2017.

The judges are Yogi Breisner, Dana Mellor, Kevin Parsons, Olly Stevens 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 15 offices in the UK. Lycetts specialises in farm and estate insurance and also provides bespoke financial services, commercial and bloodstock insurance advice.

The Racing Foundation has contributed to the funding of the Team Champion Award and The Winning Approach, a bespoke industry standard for the management of staff in British racing yards. The Winning Approach was developed by the NTF with assistance from Sport and Beyond consultancy.