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Lycetts Leadership & Team Champions Awards 2022

The 2022 Lycetts Leadership and Team Champions Awards are now closed to entries. We are delighted with the interest for the awards this year, with the majority of entrants taking part in all sections.

The judges have started to review the entries which they report are all such high quality there is strong competition between the teams and their trainers.

This years judging panel

The National Trainers Federation is delighted to announce a new judging panel for 2022. Three new judges have been appointed to join existing panel member, Kevin Parsons. The industry experience, expertise, integrity and perspective that all judges bring to the table will be invaluable to the awards process.

Sally Ann Grassick

Born into a strong Irish racing family, she recently returned home to her native Ireland after nine years in France where she was a presenter for French racing channel Equidia.

Currently part of the ITV Racing presenting team and a freelance journalist for various racing and breeding publications, she also runs her own company SAG Media and plays an important role on her family's stud farm Newtown Stud. She is the founder of Thoroughbred Tales, a social media project whose objective is to spread positive stories from behind the scenes of the racing and breeding industry.

Simon Bailey

As National Chaplain to the racing industry since 2014, Simon speaks highly of those employed in racing and truly complements the Judging panel's high level of professional integrity.

Trust built over time with racing's stakeholders and staff has given Simon the opportunity to gain valuable insight into how racing yards function. His role as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor plays a huge part in raising awareness throughout the industry and helps others to manage their own well-being. Having previously led other Chaplains and Churches in London and Arbroath, Simon brings a wealth of experience to the awards and is looking forward to getting started.

Sheila Bailey

Sheila has been a racehorse owner for some years and an active board member of the Racehorse Owners Association and Retraining of Racehorses. As a successful charity professional with skills including charity governance and strategic planning, she's committed to the highest standards of leadership at all levels in racing.

Sheila is a Director of her own Ltd company and has held senior roles in the not for profit sector where she's led and developed teams both in the UK and internationally.

Kevin Parsons

Kevin spent 17 years in racing in a range of roles, from an Apprentice and Travelling Head Groom to Assistant Trainer for leading trainers.

As Education Project Manager for the National Association of Racing Staff he provided staff with education courses and support to improve qualifications and transferable skills. Kevin has been a judge on the Lycetts Award Panel since 2017.

Dana Mellor

As a Lycetts Judge from 2018-21 Dana supports the Judging panel and ensures the implementation of good practice. She draws on her business and educational experience which include turning a sole trader business running on debt, into a profitable Ltd co and working with an underfunded local school as a member of the governing body, to achieve inspirational outcomes. Dana worked closely with the National Trainer's Federation during the pandemic and has mentored female apprentice Jockeys as part of the British Racing School's Jockey Coaching Program.

In her early career, Dana became the first law graduate to embark on a successful career as a professional jockey and rode winners in six different countries. Lessons taken and insight gained, inspired Dana to implement cultural change by leading JETS- Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme. Since then her own best practice has evolved and her ambition for comprehensive support for jockeys embarking on short term, often precarious careers gradually became the norm.

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. For more info see

  • Cavalor
  • Cavalor is renowned for high-quality nutrition products for horses performing on the highest level. During 30 years of specialised research, Cavalor has developed a complete line of premier dietary supplements, feed and care products for the global equine industry. All developed by following a structure featuring fundamental, scientific and practical research. For more info see

  • Equitare
  • Equitare are solution-focused HR & recruitment consultants for the equine industry that thrive off excellency and professionalism. Working to supply staff to yards around the UK with the very best horsemen & women on a temporary or permanent basis. For more info see
> 2022 AWARDS


Sponsors of the 2022 Leadership
& Team Champions Awards

High-quality nutrition products

Supporters of
The Winning Approach

Consultants for
The Winning Approach

Delivery of the
Management Training Modules

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