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Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards

24 February 2016

AN EMOTIONAL Gemma Hogg dedicated her Employee of the Year award at the 12th Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards to the lads in Micky Hammond’s yard “without whom the cogs don’t turn”.

The 34-year-old received her trophy from presenter Clare Balding and special guest Sir Anthony McCoy at the event at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London on Monday hosted by the BHA in partnership with the Racing Post, along with cheques totalling £40,000, half of which will be shared among her colleagues at Micky Hammond’s stable in Middleham, North Yorkshire. 

Leeds-born Hogg joined Hammond’s yard in 1998 at the age of 17 after leaving the Northern Racing College, becoming his assistant nine years later.

Hogg, who was described as “extremely passionate” about re-homing retired racehorses, had earlier won the leadership award.She said: “You half-think you’ve got tobelieve in yourself and do it for the team but to win the overall award . . . I wasthinking this can’t be happening!

“I hope the lads at the yard haveenjoyed this as well because it is for them– it is Micky Hammond above the door,but without them the cogs don’t turn.”Hogg had not turned her thoughts towards what she might spend her winnings on – in fact she had not realised how much the overall prize was.“Until I looked at that big cheque I didn't realise how much we won – I don’t know what I thought!” she said.“Maybe I should start paying more attention to this sort of thing!“

I know everybody has mentioned it,but for Godolphin to do something like this for everyone is overwhelming.”

On receiving her prize following a brief period of confusion when one of the other award winners, who was ineligible for the main prize, was announced as champion, Hogg said: “It’s a wonderful industry to get involved with. You can doso many things, it is not just about gettingup and mucking out or being a top jockey.

“There are so many great days, you can’t put your finger on it. Getting upevery day, doing something you loveevery single day is amazing.”

Hogg was one of three finalists from Hammond’s yard along with work-rider Lauren Lucas and head girl Becky Smith.

The trainer said afterwards: “Gemma winning is very much deserved, she is Micky Hammond Racing. She came to us from the Northern Racing College and has worked her way up from being a stable girl.

“She absolutely loves what she does,she says to me there is always something to look forward to in racing.“She’s a great leader, she encourages people to work for her and to get the best out of both staff and horses and as an assistant trainer she is a dream for me.When I’m not there it probably runs evenbetter when she’s in charge.”

Also paying tribute to Hogg and all her fellow finalists was BHA chief executive Nick Rust, who is an owner with Hammond.

He said: “I am delighted for Gemma.I know quite a few of the finalists andhad the privilege of meeting them today.“It is a cliche, and we have all said it,but everyone here tonight was a winnerand rightly recognised. As much as anyonewho was here, Gemma deserved to win.”

More than £120,000 in prize-money was distributed at the event to the 18 finalists and their yards and studs, while Laura Winstanley, winner of the David Nicholson Newcomer Award, received a five-day educational trip to Dubai.

Her boss Sir Michael Stoute described Winstanley, who joined his yard in 2013,as “very special”.Asked what she had made of working in racing, Winstanley replied: “It’s completely exceeded my expectations. Ididn’t know what to expect when I went in, but the opportunities you get, the people you meet, the places you get togo to, it’s just magic.”

Alyson Deniel, who has 25 years of racing experience and is an integral part of Richard Fahey’s travelling team, won the rider/groom award.

Asked what qualities were required to ride racehorses well, she replied:“You have to understand them, get to know them. “You have to get into their heads. They try to tell you in one way or another and you have got to listen to them. Once you start listening to them it becomes easier,” she went on before adding: “And loving them.”

The stud staff award was won by Stuart Thom, manager of Lofts Hall Stud in Essex, who said he was “very lucky” to be at the awards, given how busy things were at his employers.

“I've got four on the ground at the moment and the next one is due on Wednesday,” he said. “Luckily they are holding on!”

The dedication to racing award went to Claire Good enough, travelling head groom to William Haggas, whose wife Maureen described her as “irreplaceable”.

Goodenough, who has been involved in racing for 30 years, said: “This is for everyone in the yard who has supported me through everything.”

A new category – the racing community award, which commemorated former British Racing School chief executive Rory MacDonald – was won by Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme manager Lisa Delany.

She said: “It has been the most fantastic 14 years. I can sell it now as the best industry in the world to work in.

”Retraining of Racehorses presented a special recognition award to identifya member of stud or stable staff who have successfully retrained a former racehorse that was won by Joanna Mason, granddaughter of trainer Mick Easterby

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