Following an inspiring evening celebrating the achievements of stud and stable staff from across the country at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, Catriona “Catch” Bissett of Nick Alexander’s Kinneston Stables has been named as Employee of the Year 2019.

Catch was awarded with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by special guest presenter Sir Anthony McCoy alongside presenter Oli Bell at an event hosted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). She was also presented with a cheque for £30,000, of which £15,000 will be shared amongst the staff at Kinneston Stables as part of £120,000 in prize money which was awarded on the evening by sponsors Godolphin.

Catch also landed the Leadership Award on the night for her work as assistant trainer to Nick Alexander. Having completed the BHA Graduate Scheme in 2011 she joined Kinneston Stables in 2014 and following her promotion to be assistant trainer, her role in the yard cannot be underestimated.

From the moment an employee arrives they know that in Catch they are working with an assistant trainer who is genuinely committed to mentoring them and supporting them in fulfilling their ambitions. Catch’s leadership and mentoring when something goes wrong are also of paramount importance in the day-to-day running of the yard and the happy, motivated and skilful team of staff are testament to her hard work and commitment to developing them.

Brough Scott, Chairman of the Judging Panel, said: “The panel’s job was tougher than it has ever been this year with some extraordinary displays of stories of dedication, commitment and hard work amongst this year’s finalists.

“However, we had to reach a final decision and Catch is a hugely deserving winner for all the work she has done in developing and mentoring other members of the team at Kinneston.”

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “For Catch to be named Employee of the Year when our sport employs 6,000 people who work so hard to provide first class care to our horses is a fantastic achievement.

“We are grateful to all of the staff who work day in day out to ensure that the horses who take part in British racing are provided with a level of care and quality of life that is virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal.

“These awards are our opportunity to say thank you to all of them, on behalf of the sport and on behalf of our horses, and tonight’s winners and finalists are fitting ambassadors for their profession.”

The Awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in front of a specially invited audience from across the racing industry to celebrate the vital role of stud and stable staff in the racing industry and the care which they provide to the horses they look after.

The other category winners on the night were: Sophy Scott of Mark Johnston Racing who took the David Nicholson newcomer award; Stewart Gosnell of Richard Hughes’ Weathercock House Stables who was successful in the Rider/Groom category; Andrew Snell of Cheveley Park Stud who landed the Stud Staff award and John Bottomley, whose years of service in racing, most recently with Ollie Pears, earned him the Dedication to Racing award.

Also honoured was Andrea O’Keeffe who landed the Rory MacDonald Community award for her contribution to developing the many training programmes in place across the horseracing industry.

The full list of winners and runners up are as follows:

  • Employee of the Year: Catriona Bissett – Nick Alexander
  • David Nicholson Newcomer Award: Sophy Scott – Mark Johnston
    Runners up: April Clarke – Jedd O’Keeffe, Mac McLoughlin – Cheveley Park Stud
  • Leadership Award: Catriona Bissett – Nick Alexander
    Runners up: Dan Horsford – Alan King, Barry O’Dowd – John Gosden
  • Rider/Groom Award: Stewart Gossnell – Richard Hughes
    Runners up: Ian Clarkson – Micky Hammond, Sean Graham – Philip Hobbs
  • Stud Staff Award: Andrew Snell – Cheveley Park Stud
    Runners up: Christine Chapman – Theakston Stud, Kevin Tobin – New England Stud
  • Dedication to Racing Award: John Bottomley – Ollie Pears
    Runners up: Jaimie Duff – Lucinda Russell, David Macleod – James Ewart
  • Rory Macdonald Community Award: Andrea O’Keeffe – Jedd O’Keeffe 
    Runners up: Deborah Hay – Lingfield Park Racecourse, Sarah Montgomery – Musselburgh Racecourse

The Awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in front of a specially invited audience from across the racing industry to celebrate the vital role of stud and stable staff in the racing industry and the care which they provide to the horses they look after.

The Awards are generously sponsored by Godolphin and run by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in association with the Racing Post. 

The winners of the Leadership, Rider Groom, Stud Staff and Dedication to Racing categories received a prize of £5,000 with an additional £5,000 also being awarded to the winner’s yard or stud. The two runners-up in these categories won £2,000 each, with the same amount going to their yard or stud.

The winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award received £2,000, with the same amount going to their yard or stud, while two runners-up received £1,000 each, with the same amount for their yard. She also wins a five-day educational trip to Dubai to learn more about the country’s racing, culture and customs. The prize includes a return flight and five nights’ accommodation.

The Employee of the Year received an additional £15,000, with the same amount awarded to their yard or stud.

The winner of the Rory MacDonald Community Award received a prize of £5,000 with an additional prize of £5,000 going to the charity of their choice. The two runners-up won £2,000 each with the same amount going to their charity of choice.

The Judging Panel was:, Alice Plunkett, Dawn Goodfellow, Mark Bradburne, Tabbi Smith, Hazel Peplinski, Dinah Nicholson, George McGrath, Ollie McPhail, Sally Aston, Jessica McLernon, Mick Fitzgerald and Brough Scott.


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