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2021 Lycetts Leadership & Team Champions Awards

The 2021 formal award prize giving for all winners took place on Breeders Day at Sandown Park Racecourse on Wednesday 15 September. Winners and guests enjoyed hospitality and a presentation of prizes.

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) and Lycetts Insurance Brokers created the Lycetts Awards to:

  1. Reward yards where staff are managed to the highest standards
  2. Showcase how developing a high-performance team has positive effects on a business - including levels of recruitment and retention
  3. Spread the message about safe working practices
  4. Demonstrate to potential employees and the public that British racehorse trainers provide the best supported jobs anywhere in the equine sector

About the award categories
The awards celebrate the British racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management, who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and implement innovative working practices.

Lycetts Team Champions Award
This award provides an opportunity for racing staff to tell us about their team and how they support each other. The Lycetts Team Champions Award is designed to celebrate the best teams on racehorse training yards, regardless of the size of the yard and from the staff's perspective. The 2021 winner of the award is Dan Skelton.

The Lycetts Leadership Award
This award comprises four sections, each of which carries an Excellence Award in its own right. The Excellence Awards are kindly sponsored by George Smith Horseboxes. These sections are based on The Winning Approach, a set of industry standards in management and employment practices. The Winning Approach was developed for the NTF by consultants Sport and Beyond with funding from The Racing Foundation. Trainers entered just one or multiple sections. The 2021 winner of the award is Richard Phillips Racing.

Farm & Stable Award for Innovation & Wellbeing
This award is an opportunity for Trainers and their teams to demonstrate how innovative approaches to management and well-being both benefit the whole yard and contribute to its success. The 2021 winner of the award is Eve Johnson Houghton.

The 2021 Excellence Awards

Sponsored by George Smith Horseboxes, the Excellence Awards form the basis for the Lycetts Leadership Award and recognise the specific management areas trainers are excelling in.

  1. Inclusive Recruitment & Effective Induction Systems
    The 2021 winner is Andrew Balding
  2. Ensuring a Safe Working Environment
    The 2021 winner is Dan Skelton
  3. Development & Training
    The 2021 winner is Dan & Claire Kubler
  4. Reward & Recognition
    The 2021 winner is Nick Alexander

The Winning Approach
The assessment criteria for Lycetts Leadership & Team Champions Awards are based on The Winning Approach, a best practice standard developed for the NTF by consultants Sport and Beyond. They include effective recruitment and induction systems, a safe working environment, leadership and communications, developing staff to fulfil their potential, and rewarding achievement.

A copy of The Winning Approach can be found on the NTF website using the link below. Development of The Winning Approach and the award was funded with the help of The Racing Foundation.


In early 2017, Rupert Arnold proposed the initiative for the National Trainers Federation (NTF) to create Team Champion Awards. With a successful application to The Racing Foundation who awarded the NTF a grant and sponsorship from Lycetts Insurance Brokers, the Lycetts Team Champion Awards were born.

The conception of the idea for this initiative was to:

  • Deliver praise and a sense of achievement for the racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management
  • Showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together
  • Spread the message about safe working practices
  • Improve recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful management practices and encouraging their wider adoption among racehorse trainers.

About our Sponsors

  • Lycetts
    The Lycetts Group was founded in 1961 and has grown to become one of the UK's leading independently-operated insurance brokers.

    Lycetts specialises in farm and estate insurance and provides bespoke financial services, commercial and bloodstock insurance advice. It has 16 offices in the UK, with its headquarters based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

  • Farm & Stable Supplies LLP
    Established in 1975, the experience of Farm & Stable Supplies LLP's staff, coupled with their reputation for offering extraordinary levels of customer service, has come to be relied on as the partner of choice by a large number of Equine professionals, including the National Trainers Federation and its members.

  • George Smith Horseboxes
    George Smith Horseboxes have been in operation for over 30 years. The heavy-duty design which puts horse safety first is relied up on with professional users, racehorse trainers, horse transport companies, stud owner and many others. George Smith Horseboxes are one of the most popular horsebox for racehorses and our boxes can be seen at every race meeting in the country.

    For more information, please email or visit

> 2021 AWARDS



Sponsors of the 2021 Leadership
& Team Champions Awards

Sponsors of the
Excellence Awards

Supporting the
Innovation and Wellbeing Award

Supporters of
The Winning Approach

Consultants for
The Winning Approach

Delivery of the
Management Training Modules

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