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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


* British Horseracing honours grassroots heroes at annual Stud and Stable Staff Awards
* Record £75,000 in prize money awarded

Sean Travis, from Jeremy Noseda's yard in Newmarket, was today named as Stable Employee of the Year at the fourth annual Stud and Stable Staff Awards in central London.

Three-times Champion Jump Jockey Richard Dunwoody, guest of honour and recently back from conquering the South Pole, presented Travis with a cheque for £12,500. His colleagues at Shalfleet stables will share the same amount amongst themselves.

A specially invited audience of around 150 gathered to pay tribute to the leading stud and stable employees in the country, as nominated by their employers and peers. The Awards - the richest of their kind in the world, with £75,000 in prize money - are generously sponsored by Godolphin, and run by the British Horseracing Authority in association with the Racing Post.

Travis, who has worked in racing for 45 years, was also the winner in the Rider/Groom category. He has worked with Group One winners Sixties Icon and Simply Perfect in recent years, and also been associated with trainers Noel Murless, John Oxley, Jeremy Hindley and Henry Cecil during his career.

Each individual category winner collected £3,000, with their colleagues at their respective stable or stud sharing £3,000 between them. The two runners-up in each category also received £2,000.

The full list of winners was as follows:

David Nicholson Newcomer - Victoria Blueman - Lucy Wadham, Newmarket
Stud Staff - Charlie Wood - Side Hill Stud, Newmarket
Rider/Groom - Sean Travis - Jeremy Noseda, Newmarket
Senior Staff - Karen Parris - William Jarvis, Newmarket
Special Merit / Hero - Katie Clark - Henrietta Knight, West Lockinge

The Awards were judged by a panel comprising Brough Scott of the Racing Post (Chairman); former Champion Jockey Kevin Darley; Jim Gale, Chief Executive of the South Yorkshire Training Trust; BHA Director Morag Gray; Miles Littlewort, former Chief Executive of the National Stud; and British Bloodstock Marketing Representative Dinah Nicholson.

British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Nic Coward said: "These Awards are unique and very special. This is all about the sport honouring the people who really make it happen.

"Huge thanks go to Godolphin for making such a great contribution, and congratulations to all the terrific nominees."


John Holmes, the owner and promoter of the new Great Leighs racecourse, is pleased to announce that it will race on Friday, April 4, following today's visit of the inspectorate of the British Horseracing Authority. Great Leighs, which is north of Chelmsford, Essex, will be Britain's first new racecourse in 81 years when it opens its doors in under two months' time.

John Holmes said: "It has been a long, hard journey but naturally I am delighted at today's decision. I would like to thank the BHA for their encouragement, advice and support, which has been unflagging.

"One must not expect a 'grand opening;' this is a completely new destination where safety will take precedence. We see April 4 as a 'soft opening' and if we can achieve the headline 'Great Leighs goes off without a hitch' that will be a triumph. We have a further eight fixtures in April, upon which we can build. This will give both us and our operators - Arena Leisure plc, Sodexo Prestige and Stan James Bookmakers - a steer towards our two-day fixture on May 28-29, by which time our public grandstand and hospitality facilities will be fully operational.

"April 4 is the culmination of one dream and the start of another. We believe that Great Leighs will play an important role on the international stage of horse racing, as well as providing mid Essex with a destination that will benefit many facets of the local economy.

"Friday April 4 will be an especially good celebration - it also happens to be my birthday!"

Information about Membership and season tickets, plus detail about all of Great Leighs' start-up facilities can be obtained on www.greatleighs.com

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