Roy Barrett, head groom at Len Lungo’s Carrutherstown stable in Scotland, has been awarded the top honour at the inaugural Stable Staff of the Year Awards in London, winning a prize of £10,000. His yard colleagues have also received £10,000 to share between them.
Stable Employee of the Year, Barrett, 57, has spent more than 40 years in racing and was also the winner of the Senior Staff Award. He has been employed by Len Lungo for some 14 years, since Lungo first took out a training licence in 1990.
Barrett was described as showing “endless patience with young horses.” He regular rides out up to five lots a day and “has a quiet and calm personality, educating riders to as high a standard as he does the horses”, according to his employer.
Among Barrett’s most well know charges are Celtic Giant, who came back from heart problems to win the Kim Muir, as well as winners of the Cheltenham and Northumberland Plate.
The awards, sponsored by Godolphin and organised by the British Horseracing Board in association with the Racing Post, carried prizes totalling £50,000, making them the richest awards of their kind for stable staff anywhere in the world.
Eleven-times champion jockey Pat Eddery he presented all winners and runners-up with their trophies. Each of the five award category winners received £2,500, with their colleagues at their respective stable or stud to benefit from £1,000. Two runners-up in each category also received £1,000. The winners were:
- Newcomer: Paul Lucas – Groom with Andrew Balding
- Stud Staff: Susan Titley – Head Girl at Shade Oak Stud
- Rider/Groom: Larry Poland – Groom with Nicky Richards
- Senior Staff: Roy Barrett – Head Groom with Len Lungo
- Special Merit/Hero: Gary Wright – Head Groom with Peter Cundell
The awards were judged by a panel comprising Racing Post editorial director Brough Scott; John Francome, Channel 4 Racing broadcaster; Stephen Hadley, show jumper; Gill Lovell, executive director of the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust; David Nicholson, BHB bloodstock representative; and Dr Peter Webbon, Jockey Club director of veterinary science and welfare.
BHB Chairman Martin Broughton said: “Racing simply would not take place without its grass roots workforce. Their commitment often goes well beyond the call of duty, as was clear from the near-250 award nomination forms that were received. We are delighted to have played a role in ensuring that such dedicated individuals receive deserved recognition.”