Sponsored by Pitchcare, Watt Fences and Fornells, the award winners were decided by an industry panel made up of representatives from the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and National Trainers Federation (NTF).
The winners across the three racecourse categories are as follows;
Flat – York Racecourse
Jump – Kelso Racecourse
Dual purpose – Lingfield Park Racecourse
The winning teams are deemed to have demonstrated the highest levels of commitment, innovation and excellence across the year to racecourse groundsmanship and turf husbandry.
William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse, said “the racing surface is our most important asset, the stage on which the stars of our show perform.”
Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director of Kelso Racecourse said “ The Groundstaff are an excellent team, they are always open to trying something new and, above all, they are dedicated to presenting the track in the best possible condition for our participants.”
George Hill, Clerk of the Course, Lingfield Park said, “we are delighted to receive this award and it is brilliant for the team to get the recognition for their hard work throughout the year.”
In addition to this, two further awards were given; the Merit Award to Perth Racecourse, in recognition of the exceptional efforts to save a weather threatened fixture in August and also for the assistance they gave to Musselburgh Racecourse early in the season, and the Neil Wyatt Lifetime Achievement Award which went the way of Market Rasen Racecourse’s Steve Bakin to celebrate his fantastic 44 year career.
Hazel Peplinski, Chief Executive, Perth Racecourse said “2019 has been a very difficult year for our track team and I am grateful to them for how they have addressed each and every challenge which has been a monumental team effort of perseverance.”
Steve Bakin added “I am grateful to the judges for such a personal recognition and I leave Market Rasen Racecourse in good hands.”
The sponsors and judges highly commended the commitment and innovation these tracks have shown throughout the year and their tireless work to enhance the quality and safety of the racing surfaces and other areas of the course. George Noad, representing the NTF, said “the hard work undertaken by Groundstaff throughout the year is very important for the safety of all the sport’s participants and they deserve our thanks.” Dale Gibson, PJA Executive Director, said “racing on a consistent, well maintained and safe surface remains vitally important to all Jockeys.”
John Richards, Operations Director of sponsors Pitchcare, added “on behalf of the sponsors, I would like to say how delighted we are to be able to recognise the outstanding contribution of Steve Bakin. I don’t think we have ever received so many supporting references for a nominee.”
York, Kelso and Lingfield Park will all be in the running to be crowned the 2019 Racecourse Groundstaff Champion, where the announcement will be made at the tenth annual RCA Showcase Awards held at Hamilton Park Racecourse on Thursday 14th November 2019.