Racing Industry Developments

Racing is a traditional industry in this country that employs thousands of people across the country. But a recognised issue in racing is a shortage of staff and the retention of young people going into the industry. To help trainers with their employee management the National Federation of Trainers have launched a set of guidelines called The Winning Approach.

They have also launched the Lycett Team Champion Awards to celebrate the British racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management, instil a sense of achievement in the best managed yards and raise awareness of safe working practices to help reduce the risk of workplace injuries.

Lycett Team Champion Awards 2018

The yards were judged in two categories – under and over 40 horses in training. The judges, including Penny Post reader Dana Mellor (see below), visited many yards across the country who entered the awards.

One of the local entrants in the larger yard category was Warren Greatrex who trains at Uplands, Fred Winter’s old yard in Lambourn. This video was part of their entry for the competition:


After long deliberation, the judges shortlisted four trainers in each of the two categories:

over 40 horses: Tom Dascombe; Warren Greatrex; Mark Johnston; Dan Skelton
fewer than 40 horses: Nick Alexander; Martin Keighley; Seamus Mullins; Suzy Smith

They also awarded 39 trainers a star rating in recognition of the high standard of their employment practises.

At an award ceremony at the Institute of Directors after the NFT AGM on 22 February 2018, the Greatrex team were delighted to win the larger yard category. The judges stated they chose Greatrex because he focuses on what he believes matters most to his team – accommodation, time off and reward (be it wages or Employee of the Month scheme). The staff are a close knit team who know that if they express interest in learning from the vet, the farrier or the jockey coach, they will be given a chance to learn and develop.

The award was presented by former world class performance manager to the British eventing team, Yogi Breisner.


The Greatrex staff decided to spend their £4,000 prize money on specialist clothing to keep them warm on the gallops in the winter.

Nick Alexander’s Kinneston yard from Fife in Scotland won the Lycetts Team Champion Award in the category of yards under 40 employees.

Lycett Team Champion Awards 2019

To register your interest for the 2019 Lycetts Team Champion Award please send an email to

Click here (and scroll down) to download the 2018 nomination form for an idea of what you will need to do. Read The Winning Approach guidelines which underpin the award and is the standard to which all trainers will hopefully aspire.

New Training and Qualification Opportunity for Racing Staff

As there are already a number of staff who act as mentors, it is the view of the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS) that they should be recognised with a government qualification. So NARS is set to expand its educational programmes to include a qualification in Mentoring, Leadership and Team Skills after securing a £100,000 funding partnership agreement with the country’s largest independent bookmaker, Jenningsbet.

Up to 28 students each year will have the chance to study for the ILM Level 2 Introduction to Mentoring and ILM Level 2 Award in Leadership and Team Skills on a 12-week course delivered by West Suffolk College, with the first enrolments in September 2018.

For more information about courses and qualification in racing please contact the British Racing School based at Newmarket.

Local Judge Dana Mellor

Lycett Team Champion Awards judging panel included Penny Post reader Dana Mellor

As a trainer’s daughter in Berkshire and an apprentice to Jack Berry in Lancashire, Dana gained an early valuable insight into the hard work required to run racing yards at both ends of the country.

Understanding the relentless pressure under which both trainer and stable staff work, Dana soon learned that good team work is an essential part of success.

With a law degree from Lancaster University behind her, Dana became a key player in establishing JETS (Jockeys Employment & Training Scheme). For almost a decade she enjoyed working with jockeys and racing staff all over the UK providing support once riding was no longer an option.

She noticed that her job was made easier by an aptitude for team work, which was evident amongst most racing employees when they were looking to use their skills elsewhere.

Dana recently welcomed the opportunity to raise awareness of good working practice in racing yards as a judge for the Lycetts Team Champion Award.



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