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Kauto Star’s work rider Clifford Baker was last week (27 February) named employee of the year at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards in London.

He won £25,000, of which £10,000 will be shared with staff at Paul Nicholls’ yard.

Clifford has been head lad for Nicholls since 1996. He previously worked for David Nicholson.

“It’s appropriate that Clifford rides Kauto Star every morning, as he has long been the Kauto Star of stable staff,” said Brough Scott, chairman of the judging panel.

“His career has been a magnificent example of how outstanding staff play a major role in any trainer’s success.”

The awards celebrate the fundamental role of stable staff within the industry and the prize-fund totals £120,000. Clifford also won the high achiever of the year award.

Racing is a way of life and it takes over your life, but that is the way it is and what makes it so great,” said Clifford. “I can never see me not loving it as much as I do now.

“Kauto Star is 12, but he thinks he’s six. He helps me, too – I’m over 50, but he makes me feel like I’m 30!”

The National Association of Stud and Stable Staff special merit award went to Jerry Walsh, travelling head lad with Paul Webber.

The David Nicholson newcomer award was won by Christopher Lynn from Ferdy Murphy’s yard and the rider/groom award went to Charlotte Cox from Henry Candy’s yard.

Graham Nicklin from Glebe Stud won the stud staff award while the dedication to racing award was won by Willie Cowe, who is head lad for James Ewart.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 March 2012)

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