Musselburgh, Taunton and York Racecourses have been named as the winners across the three categories for Dual Purpose, Jumps and Flat racecourses respectively.
Musselburgh Racecourse win the Dual Purpose Award for the second year in a row, whilst York claim the title they last held in 2009 and Taunton for the first time received the Jump Award. The judging panel commended the expertise, knowledge and dedication of all racecourse groundstaff teams in the light of challenging weather conditions during 2012.
The Neil Wyatt Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced as a new award to recognise those who have made an exceptional contribution to the Racing Industry. The inaugural honour was awarded to Reg Lomas, previously Head Groundsman at Stratford and Cheltenham Racecourses and now continuing to assist at racecourses and on trainers' gallops in his 80's.
On behalf of the sponsors, John Richards, Operations Director of Pitchcare commented, "2012 was probably the most testing year ever for racecourse groundstaff, and they all deserve recognition and thanks for getting meetings on. On behalf of the sponsors I would like to congratulate them for their outstanding efforts. It is proof, yet again, why British Groundsmen are considered to be amongst the best in the world."
Richard Linley, Senior BHA Inspector of Courses, said:" 2012 was an extremely difficult year for all Groundsmen and that is probably borne out by the fact that rainfall was at an all-time high across the country, and the initiative and innovation demonstrated by racecourses has been very encouraging. It has been particularly pleasing to see that the racing surface has been given such a high priority at all these independent racecourses."
Rupert Arnold, of the National Trainers Federation, said: "Racecourses had shocking conditions to contend with last year so they all deserve credit for running as many meetings as they did. These special efforts made it hard to pick winners but the awards have gone to Groundstaff who show a consistently high level of commitment and high standards. They all deserve trainers' thanks."
Dale Gibson from The Professional Jockeys Association said "2012 was an exceptionally difficult year for all racecourses and groundstaff. Their dedication and professionalism was evident day in day out, often in challenging conditions. The four safety officers submitted nominations, and we not only congratulate the winning teams but all who help to keep the show on the road."
William Derby, Clerk of the Course and Chief Executive at York, said, "I am truly delighted for our hard working team here at the Knavesmire and we are honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious award. Led by Adrian Kay, our Head Groundsman, the team have overcome the wettest summer on record, learning new skills, mastering new pieces of equipment and putting in that extra effort to deliver a racing surface that witnessed some extraordinary performances from horses and jockeys last year. The extremes of weather during 2012 meant that many teams across the country have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep racing, which only reflects further credit on the York team and makes us very proud."
Bob Young, Chief Executive at Taunton racecourse said, "This is a grand achievement by Kevin Councill and his staff of three under the watchful eye of Mike Trickey, our Clerk of the Course. The Chairman, Mike Foden, and directors are very pleased to have such a professional hard working team at Taunton. We are grateful to the sponsors; Pitchcare, ALS and Fornells for the recognition and I know our groundstaff are very proud to receive the award. I just hope I get an invite to the celebration which is going to follow this!"
Bill Farnsworth, General Manager at Musselburgh Racecourse said, "I am especially pleased for the groundstaff team that we have been awarded this prestigious accolade two years in succession. Especially pleasing is the recognition that Musselburgh is constantly looking to improve the quality of its race track and its ambition to host better quality racing as well as always working hard to reduce the risk of injury. Many thanks and congratulations to our Head Groundsman Mark Penrose and his team"