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The fourth annual Stud and Stable staff awards, held on Tuesday, 19 February, rewarded the dedication and hard work of those behind the scenes of the racing industry.

More than 100 names were put forward for the awards and a panel of judges, chaired by ex- jockey and chairman of the Injured Jockeys Fund Brough Scott, selected the five winners from 15 worthy finalists.

Sean Travis, who works for Jeremy Noseda in Newmarket, took home the overall award — the Stable Employee of the Year 2008. Sean also won the Rider/Groom award.

Over his 45 years in the racing industry, Sean has worked with trainers such as Noel Murless, John Oxley, Jeremy Hindley and Henry Cecil. Following a bad accident he was out of racing for two years but has since recovered and has been at Shalfleet with Mr Noseda for the past four years.

Sean told H&H; “I felt very humble. After listening to what some of the others have gone through I couldn’t believe it was me when they announced my name. There were so many great competitors. There will be quiet celebrations — after all I have to be up to ride out at 5am!”

In a moving presentation Katie Clark from Henrietta Knight’s West Lockinge yard won the Award for Special Merit/Hero — an award for those who have shown bravery, courage or outstanding achievement in the course of their work.

Katie was diagnosed with Aggressive Hodgkins Lymphnoma in 2005 and went through extensive chemotherapy. Despite a month in isolation in January 2007 she was determined to beat the cancer and although not strong enough yet to ride managed to lead round Aztec Warrior at Cheltenham that year.

Katie told H&H “I’m over the moon, absolutely gob-smacked to have won. It was such an honour just to be nominated and to win is just amazing. I’m delighted.”

Former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody, who completed a record-breaking journey to the South Pole on 18 January, his 44th birthday (news 24, January) presented the awards.

A total prize fund of £75,000 was awarded at the ceremony — which took place at the Café Royal in London. Organised by the British Horseracing Authority in association with the Racing Post, the awards were sponsored by Godolphin.

The David Nicholson Newcomer Award (less than two years in racing)
Winner — Victoria Blueman, who works for Lucy Wadham in Newmarket.

Runners up — Nathan Alison (Jim Boyles, Epsom) and Dorothy Kmon (Pam Cockerill’s Providence Stud, Yorkshire).

Award for Stud Staff
Winner — Charlie Wood from Simon Hockridge’s Side Hill Stud in Newmarket

Runners up — Ian Emes (Nicholas Jones’ Coln Valley Stud, Cheltenham) and Jody Elmes (Barry Reilly’s Woodcote Stud, Epsom).

Award for Rider/Groom
Winner — Sean Travis who is employed by Jeremy Noseda, Newmarket

Runners up — Richard Farmer (Jim Boyles, Epsom) Brian Proctor (Saeed Bin Suroor/Godolphin, Newmarket).

The Award for Senior Staff
Winner — Karen Parris, head girl for William Jarvis, Newmarket.

Runners up — AA (Corky) Browne (Nicky Henderson, Lambourn) and Helen Shepherd (Ferdy Murphy, Yorkshire).

Award for Special Merit/Hero
Winner — Katie Clark employed by Henrietta Knight, West Lockinge

Runners up — Jerry Walsh (Paul Webber, Banbury) and Katie Whyte (Lucinda Russell, Kinross).