A travelling head lad who has worked with the likes of Desert Orchid, Persian Punch, In The Groove and Barnbrook Again has been crowned Stud and Stable Staff Employee of the Year.

Old school legend Peter Maughan, who is travelling head lad for David Elsworth in Newmarket, has worked in racing for some 56 years.

Grand National and Gold Cup winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald presented Peter with his accolade at a glittering lunch in London today. Thanks to generous sponsorship by Godolphin, Peter took home not only the trophy, but a prize of £12,500, plus another £12,500 to be shared among his colleagues as David Elsworth’s Newmarket yard.

Talking through his memories racing legends, Peter said: “Dessie [Desert Orchid] was a miserable old devil to start with in his box, but he loved the public and was good as gold at the races.”

But, of all the horses he worked with, Peter said Persian Punch was “the very bravest”.

“He ran his heart out 100 per cent in every race he ran,” recalled Peter, who had earlier also won the senior staff award.

The awards were judged by a panel comprising celebrated author and journalist Brough Scott (chairman); former champion jockey and Professional Jockey Associaion industry liaison director Kevin Darley; BHA director Morag Gray; Miles Littlewort, former chief executive of the National Stud; and Dinah Nicholson, wife of the late David Nicholson.

Other winners at today’s fifth running of the Stud and Stable Staff Awards, run by the British Horseracing Authority in conjunction with the Racing Post were:

David Nicholson Newcomer
Winner: Lee Oswin, trainee stable lad with Gary Moore
Runners up: Ellie Church, stable lass with Marcus Tregoning
Matthew Hampton, rider/groom with Philip Hobbs

Stud staff
Winner: Paul Baker, stud groom/manager at Usk Valley Stud
Runners up: Roisin Close, stud groom at Tweenhills Stud
Deborah Dodd, secretary and stud stable hand at Louella Stud

Winner: Claire Knight, rider/groom with Jeremy Noseda
Runners up: Hugh Fraser, rider/groom with John Berry
Mick Wilson, stable groom with William Haggas

Senior staff
Winner: Peter Maughan, travelling head lad with David Elsworth
Runners up: Albert “Corky” Browne, head lad with Nicky Henderson
Jim Hiner, secretary with Michael Jarvis

Special merit/hero
Winner: Andy Gibson, yardman with Stuart Williams
Runners up: Sally Davies, general assistant with Simon Dow
Ian Willows, travelling head lad with Luca Cumani