The winners of the much coveted 2009 Pitchcare Neil Wyatt Racecourse Groundstaff Awards have been announced, and the Award for the best Jumps racecourse has been won by Plumpton Racecourse.
Judging of the awards took place on Tuesday 19 January 2010 and the panel comprised representatives of the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys’ Association, with support from the BHA Course Inspectors. The Awards, organised by the Racecourse Association, are in their fourteenth year and recognise the achievements of racecourse groundstaff.
John Richards, Operations Director of Pitchcare commented, “We are delighted to sponsor these prestigious awards. Groundstaff at racecourses are highly regarded in the sports turf industry, their work is critical to the safety of the horses and jockeys and, as such, the ongoing success of the sport.
Richard Linley, Senior BHA Inspector of Courses, said: “It is encouraging that each year it gets more difficult to select winners. 2009 saw some really pro-active displays of groundsmanship in what was a particularly difficult year for many racecourses due to the high rainfall. It is a shame that we can only recognise three courses in these awards as there are many other deserving teams.”
Rupert Arnold from the National Trainers Federation said: “As usual, the awards were fiercely fought over and the panel had a tough job separating the nominations. The commitment of groundstaff to high standards around British racecourses is commendable.”
Dale Gibson from the Professional Jockeys’ Association said “It was great to see areas of the sport from the other side of the fence. The racecourse nominations contained detailed analysis which we debated hard. There were a number of very strong submissions.”
Mark Cornford, Clerk of the Course said “We are thrilled that Plumpton’s efforts have been recognised in these prestigious awards named in honour of Neil Wyatt. Neil was a great supported of racecourses such as ours and gave us tremendous encouragement during his tenure as Senior Inspector of Courses for The Jockey Club.”