Lycetts Team Champion Award 2019 nomination window open


3rd September 2018


  • The Lycetts Team Champion Award showcases trainers’ yards which promote a team ethos
  • The judging criteria are drawn from The Winning Approach, the bespoke industry standard, supporting retention of racing staff and demonstrating modern management practices by racehorse trainers in Britain
  • Training days to offer guidance on practical management techniques

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to be launching the second year of the Lycetts Team Champion Award. The window for nominations opens on Monday 3rd September 2018. The closing date is Monday 3rd December 2018.

Created in 2017 with the first awards presented in February 2018, the Lycetts Team Champion Award celebrates 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 thereby encourage 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.

The 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 benefits and enhances the team.

Teams scoring above given points thresholds will achieve recognition through a star-rating system and have the right to use the unique award logo to promote their business. 39 current holders of the star-rating can be viewed on the award website.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday 28th February 2019.

The 2018 award winners were:

  • 40 horses or more: Warren Greatrex, Uplands Stable, Lambourn, Berkshire

Team Greatrex

  • Less than 40 horses: Nick Alexander, Kinneston, Fife


Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said, “Our members responded enthusiastically to the first Lycetts Team Champion Award. It was great to see how trainers and staff worked together to show the excellent management practices they use to instil a team ethos in the yard.

“By demonstrating the high standards currently operating 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.”

Tom Dascombe, whose team was shortlisted in 2018, commented, “All the team at Manor House Stables were thrilled to get onto the shortlist in the first Lycetts Team Champion Award. They really enjoyed being involved. It’s great to have a chance to show how the way we work together is good for the business and we will be having another go at winning the award this year.”

The NTF is helping its members meet the award criteria – and adopt the wider Winning Approach – by putting on a series of training days at Newmarket, Cheltenham and Kelso.

The training days, entitled ‘Building a Sustainable Business’, are supported by The Racing Foundation and delivered by Peplow Group’s Peter Burnet, who has run the Management Academy for Racing for the past decade.

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, Divisional 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 instil 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.”


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 17 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.

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:



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.


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.