I've posted before about the progress of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, and round off this series with the news that following the final judging Clifford Baker was named 'Employee of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in London over the weekend.
Baker, who is head lad at the Paul Nicholls yard, received the perpetual Godolphin Trophy, and a cheque for £25,000, of which £10,000 will be shared amongst all the staff in the yard. Presenting the award, dual champion flat jockey Paul Hanagan said, "This is a really special day for everyone involved. Jockeys know more than most the level of dedication and hard work demonstrated every day by stud and stable staff, and it is a real privilege to spend time with them, and to be able to acknowledge everything they do for the sport in front of their family, friends and colleagues."
Godolphin have sponsored the awards now for eight years, including putting up prize-money of £120,000 this year. The winners of each category picked up £5,000 for themselves and a similar amount to be shared amongst their colleagues. Other winners were:
National Association of Stable Staff Merit Award: Jerry Walsh (Paul Webber)
David Nicholson Newcomer Award: Christopher Lynn (Ferdy Murphy)
High Achiever Award: Clifford Baker (Paul Nicholls)
Rider/Groom Award: Charlotte Cox (Henry Candy)
Stud Staff Award: (Glebe Stud)
Dedication to Racing Award: Willie Cowe (James Ewart)
The judging panel was drawn from across the world of racing and chaired by author and journalist Brough Scott. Supporting him were Dinah Nicholson, wife of former champion trainer the late David Nicholson; David Redvers, bloodstock agent; Pat Eddery, 11 times champion jockey; Ian Balding, former champion trainer; and Judith Allen: executive director of the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust.
Speaking on behalf of the panel, Brough Scott said, "It is appropriate that Clifford Baker rides Kauto Star every morning because he has long been the Kauto Star of stable staff. His whole career has been a magnificent example of how outstanding staff play a major role in any trainer’s success."