A hunt groom, a show jumping groom and a groom for an equine charity are among nine finalists for the 2008 Kuster BEF Groom Award.

The finalists will await their fate at a champagne lunch this Monday (8 December), where they will be interviewed by the three judges — double Olympic medallist Tina Cook, Paralympic medallist Simon Laurens and chairman of the British Horse Society Patrick Print.

The prizes will be presented at Olympia on 21 December, when the winner will receive £1,000 of holiday vouchers and the Smash Hit trophy. The two runners-up will receive a share of £500 and there is also a newcomer’s award.

Lucy Katan, Kuster BEF (British Equestrian Federation) Groom Award co-ordinator, said: “This year has seen some exceptionally strong nominations and [the awards] are a great way to recognise and reward the grooms for their hard work. All of the grooms nominated this year deserve to be in the final and we really hope that nominators will re-enter their grooms for the awards in 2009.”

The finalists are Dayley Fisher (Ben Maher/Emma Phillips’ groom), Jo Hill (Henry Boswell), Caroline Churchley (Hon Mrs Mark Vestey), Joanne Fulham (World Horse Welfare), Laura Hale (Carol Jones), Alice Walthen (Celia Plunkett), Darnelle Hubbard (Michael Kallenbach), Faye Corte (Clare Whitaker), Naomi Binns (Linda Whetherley).

Travelling groom Jenny Ellis won the award last year.