Jessica McLernon, Assistant Trainer at Richard Fahey’s Musley Bank Stables, has been named as Employee of the Year 2018 at a gala evening ceremony celebrating the achievements of stud and stable staff from across the country, the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.
Jessica was awarded with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by special guest presenter Michael Owen alongside presenter Ed Chamberlin at an event hosted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
She was also presented with a cheque for £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at Musley Bank, part of £120,000 in prize money which was awarded on the evening by sponsors Godolphin.
Jessica also landed the Leadership Award on the night following her rapid progress to become assistant trainer since joining the team at Richard Fahey Racing in May 2011.
As well as managing day to day duties including rotas, allocating staff to go racing and managing veterinary visits Jessica keeps in close contact with the office and 75 staff who help make the yard run so efficiently.
Her positive, friendly attitude and astute manner and natural management skills have always shone through and she has worked hard to hone her skills in managing, motivating and mentoring the staff to get the best out of everyone.
Brough Scott, Chairman of the Judging Panel, commented: “The panel’s job was as tough as ever with some inspiring stories of dedication, commitment and hard work amongst this year’s finalists. However, we had to reach a final decision and Jessica is a hugely deserving winner for the amazing progress she has made in her career so far.”
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, added: “Jessica’s achievement in being named Employee of the Year should not be underestimated. This sport employs 6,000 people whose job it is to provide first class care and attention to the 14,000 horses in training at any one time. To be named as the pinnacle of that remarkable, dedicated workforce is quite a feat.”
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 winners of the Awards were decided at a formal judging day at the BHA’s London office in the morning before the ceremony, where the finalists were interviewed by members of the judging panel.
The other category winners on the night were: Adrian Stewart of David Lougnane Racing who took the David Nicholson newcomer award; Petra Sebestikova of Luca Cumani’s Bedford House Stables who was successful in the Rider/Groom category; Sarah Taylor of Mickley Stud who landed the Stud Staff award and William Reddy, whose years of service with the Johnson Houghton family earned him the Dedication to Racing award.
Also honoured were John and Jackie Porter, formerly of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, who landed the Rory MacDonald Community award for their work at Lambourn’s Oaksey House.
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 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 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. He 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 full list of winners and runners up are as follows:
Employee of the Year: Jessica McLernon – Richard Fahey
Leadership Award: Jessica McLernon – Richard Fahey
Runners up: Andrea Kelly – Tim Vaughan, Edward Murrell – Juddmonte Farms
Rider/Groom Award: Petra Sebestikova – Luca Cumani
Runners up: Ben Stephens – Malcolm Jefferson, Faisal Tahir – Henry Spiller
Stud Staff Award: Sarah Taylor – Mickley Stud
Runners up: Kate Ford – Goldford Stud, Daniel James – Brookside Stud
Dedication to Racing Award: William Reddy – Eve Johnson Houghton
Runners up: Chris Jerdin – Oliver Sherwood, Patrick Lennon – Shadwell Stud
David Nicholson Newcomer Award: Adrian Stewart – David Loughnane
Runners up: Hannah Farrell – Dianne Sayer, Josephine Saunders – Hillwood Stud
Rory Macdonald Community Award: John & Jackie Porter – ex Injured Jockeys’ Fund
Runners up: Angela French – The Racing Centre, Peter Williams – British Racing School
Nick Rust said: “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.”
Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.
She absolutely loves her job (how many people can say that?!) and is truly grateful to all supporters of and contributors to Eclipse Magazine.
If you are reading this she would like to say THANK YOU! (And please spread the word about Eclipse…!!)