2016 Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards
Late news from London: Our Gemma picks up top stable staff prize!
23rd February 2016
Team Hammond proudly flew the flag for the north at Monday evening’s Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff awards at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge and having already been presented with the Leadership Award, our assistant trainer Gemma Hogg rounded off a memorable night by being named Employee of the Year.
Gemma, 34, was presented with the perpetual Godolphin trophy and cheques for a total of £40,000, half of which will be shared between the rest of our team, by 20 times champion National Hunt jockey Sir AP McCoy at the end of the ceremony, which was hosted by Clare Balding and attended by all eighteen finalists and their guests.
Gemma has worked for us since graduating from the Northern Racing College in 1998 and became assistant trainer in 2007. In addition to all of her day to day duties she’s totally devoted to the success of our yard, she’s extremely passionate about rehoming our retiring horses, and for good measure she also rode a winner under Rules at Hamilton nine seasons ago!
“Thank you very much, thanks Godolphin!” said Gems. “We have had a fantastic day and everyone has been great, the British Horseracing Authority and the other finalists.
“I would just like to thank everybody who has come down to support me. There are some of my family here, Micky and owners. I am originally from Leeds but I have worked in Middleham for 17 years now. I went straight there from the Northern Racing College when I was 17. I decided to apply to the college after my mum and I went down for a taster day there. My mum, looking at my face, could tell I would be doing nothing else.
“The horses are everything and without them there wouldn’t be a racing industry. So it is important to look after them and make sure they have a nice home. It is also important that they have the life they deserve after racing.
“I have worked as stable girl, done a bit of the travelling head girl role, moved on to be assistant head girl and am now assistant trainer. I’ve worked my way up the yard really at a time when we have slowly been building up young staff, some nice horses and lovely owners. I oversee everything from doing entries and declarations, speaking to owners, making sure the staff are where they should be when they should be, mucking out if I need to, riding out if I need to, anything and everything.
“It’s a wonderful industry to get involved with and I can never see myself doing anything else. There are so many great days – from riding a winner to seeing some of the lads leading up their first winner. I can’t wait to get up every day, to do something that I love.
“This award has really made me look back on my career and I just feel really privileged because there so many things you can do within the racing industry and the support from Godolphin, the British Horseracing Authority and Racing Welfare is just getting stronger all the time.”
Chairman of the 12-strong judging panel, Brough Scott, said: “Gemma Hogg represents the very essence of vitality, generosity and pragmatism, which are the very best of racing qualities, and will be a fantastic ambassador for the sport.”
Earlier in the evening Lauren Lucas and Rahul Kamble finished joint runners up to Sir Michael Stoute’s stable lass Laura Winstanley in the David Nicholson Newcomer category, while Alyson Deniel came out on top in the rider/groom award, beating her fellow amateur jockey, our own Becky Smith, and Tom Dascombe’s travelling head lad Christopher Ely. Both Becks and Loz also picked up a chunk of the total £128,000 prize fund.
Our website editor Martyn, wearing Primark, with guest presenter and all time racing legend AP McCoy
It was a fantastic night, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, our girls had plenty of support from friends and family and it was a privilege to be there to see Gemma get deserved recognition for her devotion to our great sport.
Well done from all of us to our Gemski but as usual the boss gets the final word: “I am very proud of Gemma – she is Micky Hammond Racing through and through.”
Watch the BHA films about Gemma, Becks & Loz right here!
11th March 2016
That was the week that was….
28th February 2016
Seven days ago we were down in the West End ahead of the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff awards, hoping that one of our three finalists – Gemma, Becks and Loz – might win their category. Gemma, of course, went on to win not just the Leadership award but also the overall Employee of the Year accolade, leading to plenty of media interest which our Gem has handled in typically unassuming, modest and professional fashion.
Gemma’s success made the the late editions of Tuesday’s Racing Post and the front page of Wednesday’s edition, the Post are one of the sponsors of the Stable Staff awards and they also produced a brilliant 12 page supplement on Monday which highlighted the amazing work done by all eighteen finalists ahead of the evening ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge.
Gemma has been really quick to acknowledge how much her award is down to the hard work of everyone in the yard, as she told the Yorkshire Post.
“It’s all about the lads at the yard. We have a super set of staff and the horses are a credit to them,” said Gem. “Even though they’re working with racehorses, they’re so good and kind with them that they’re like pets. It means a lot to the whole yard. They don’t do it for trophies or the big pay cheque. They go out every day and work hard for the love of their horses. It’s a cliché but, as a leader, you’re only as good as your team.”
Mick Fitzgerald gave us a great shout out on Channel 4’s Saturday afternoon coverage, while Godolphin, the chief supporter of the stable staff awards, quite rightly noted on their website that “there was a lot of support for Gemma at the awards dinner. The room erupted in huge cheers when she won the Leadership Award and there were even louder celebrations with the announcement of the main award.”
All three of our finalists are graduates of the Northern Racing College and the NRC’s chairman Trevor Beaumont was clearly thrilled to hear of Gemma’s award. “Everyone at the College is delighted by Gemma’s success,” he said. “She thoroughly deserves the award, and as Brough Scott said, she’s a magnificent ambassador for racing, and also for the College, Micky Hammond’s stable and the North.”
Part of the finalists’ prize was a trip to the Houses of Parliament on Monday morning after their final interviews with the judging panel, and our three girls met up with our local MP Rishi Sunak in Westminster.
Gemma (left), Becks, the boss and Lauren meet Mr Sunak at the House of Commons
Mr Sunak went on to write on his website that “it was wonderful to see Middleham-based staff do so well in these awards and I was delighted to celebrate their success with them. The racing industry is so important in my constituency so I was pleased to support the awards and add my congratulations to those of others.”
Gemma has been described this week by no less than the most respected racing journalist of them all, Brough Scott, as a “fantastic ambassador for racing.”
We know that Brough is right, and we couldn’t think of a better way to describe our Gems, who lives and breathes racing and devotes her life to the sport. The massive cheer that went up when Sir Anthony McCoy announced the winner of the Employee of the Year award in London on Monday night said it all.
As the Yorkshire Post put it, “Gemma is just determined to maintain her own high standards – and the stable’s winning run.
“Don’t bet against it.”