That was the week that was….
It’s not every week that a relatively low profile Yorkshire yard makes local and national headlines, so we’re not going to make any apologies for sharing a few of them here!
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.”