Unsung heroes of the British horse racing word are in the running for a prestigious national award

PUBLISHED: 12:53 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 13 February 2018

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Petra Sebestokovar PHOTO: Dan Abraham

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Petra Sebestokovar PHOTO: Dan Abraham

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Seven unsung heroes, dedicated to horse racing and the care of their animals, have been short listed in a prestigious national awards ceremony.

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Faisal Tahir PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Faisal Tahir PHOTO: Dan Abraham

The finalists are in the forthcoming Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards (GSSSA), and are from the Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk region.

The awards shine a light on the unsung heroes working at the grass roots of British horseracing and its bloodstock industry.

Ed Chamberlain, of ITV Racing will present the awards, along with guest host Michael Owen.

There are six finalists who work in either Newmarket or Ely from a total of 18 finalists and 10 award categories.

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards Petra Sebestokova PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards Petra Sebestokova PHOTO: Dan Abraham

The GSSSA offer more than a total £125,000 in prize money, with up to £40,000 available to a single yard or stud.

The East Anglian GSSSA finalists are:

Leadership award, Edward Murrell of Juddmonte Farms, Newmarket.

Edward Murrell joined Juddmonte on a permanent basis in 2001. He has progressed to assistant stud manager in January.

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Angela French PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Angela French PHOTO: Dan Abraham

Ed plays a key role in ensuring the smooth working of the organization in Newmarket, and has developed exceptional people management skills.

He ensures young people with a keen interest in the industry have the opportunity to learn and develop.

Ed is positive, encouraging, hardworking, committed and dedicated. He is a team player and a highly-respected leader.

Rider groom award, Petra Sebestikova of Luca Cumani, Newmarket.

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards Faisal Tahir PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards Faisal Tahir PHOTO: Dan Abraham

Since joining Bedford House in 2009, Petra has honed her considerable natural talent in the saddle to become one of the team’s most valued members of staff. She has a quiet, cheerful disposition and a knack of being able to calm the most fractious of horses. She helps to mentor and encourage young riders and looks after the horses in her care to an incredibly high standard. If they are injured she continues to follow their progress making regular visits to see how they are recuperating, just one of the reasons she is a truly exceptional member of the team.

• Rider groom award, Faisal Tahir, of Henry Spiller, Newmarket.

Faisal arrived in England from his native Pakistan in 2004. A supremely gifted rider, it is an indication of his loyalty and dedication to the horses he rides that he has remained at a smaller yard like Saville House. He has done this because he likes to have the time to spend with the horses he cares for, and goes about all aspects of his job with the minimum of fuss and the maximum amount of professionalism. All those who work with him, including the trainer, have benefited from his experience and his tenderness with the racehorses he comes into contact with.

Stud staff award, Daniel James, of Brookside Stud, Ely, Cambs

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Daniel James PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Daniel James PHOTO: Dan Abraham

Daniel is a quiet and unassuming person, despite performing some heroic feats in his professional life. These have come in his previous career as a boxer but also more recently at Brookside Stud in December 2016, which is the reason for this nomination. Daniel went above and beyond the call of duty, taking on hours of extra work alongside his usual role to help contain an outbreak of the EHV-1 virus. By setting up, caring for and foaling three potentially infected mares at an isolated location he showed true dedication and prevented what could have been a disaster for the stud.

• Rory McDonald Community Award, Angela French of The Racing Centre, Newmarket.

Angela has been at The Racing Centre, originally the Astley Club, for over 30 years. Known affectionately as ‘the keep fit lady’, she has helped countless current and retired racing staff through her passion for healthy living. There have been countless extra hours mopping, cleaning and helping behind the bar in the early days as well as her involvement in numerous charity events which have raised huge sums over the years.

Angela has always been an invaluable member of the team and The Racing Centre would not be what it is today with her years of fantastic commitment and hard work.

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Daniel James PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Daniel James PHOTO: Dan Abraham

• Rory McDonald Community Award, Peter Williams of the British Racing School, Newmarket.

Peter has been a stalwart of the British Racing School (BRS) for 13 years. His unstinting commitment to promote his love of racing to others has seen him go above and beyond the call of duty innumerable times, helping to nurture countless students who have been struggling.

There is no one activity or achievement that Peter deserves particular credit for, rather it is the sum of his total contribution and dedication to furthering the aspirations of so many that visit the BRS to start or further their careers in racing that make him an inspiration to all who work with him.

• Dedication to racing award went to Patrick Lennon, of Shadwell Stud, Thetford, Norfolk

Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Peter Williams PHOTO: Dan Abraham Nominated for Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is Peter Williams PHOTO: Dan Abraham

Patrick has spent his entire life within the worlds of breeding and racing. Having spent much of his career at Thornton Stud in Yorkshire, a spell at Plantation Stud in Newmarket followed before moving to Shadwell in 2005. Patrick himself describes a career which has been blessed with good fortune and enjoyment at every turn, but it is the horses and people who have come into contact with him who have been the lucky ones.

A true horseman with a gentle yet firm hand when needed, Patrick retires in 2018 after nearly 40 years of giving his all to the industry and animals he loves.

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