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#RacingStaffWeek focus on … The Lycetts Team Champion Award

The Lycetts Team Champion Award was established in 2017 by the National Trainers Federation, with support from The Racing Foundation, sponsored by Lycetts Insurance Brokers.  The award seeks to recognise and reward good employment practices in the racing industry.

What is it?

The Lycetts Team Champion Award was created to celebrate training yards displaying a strong team ethos.  The application process requires trainers to work together with their teams of staff, submitting evidence to gain a rating for good working practices.  The award scheme seeks 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

The Winning Approach


The assessment criteria for Lycetts Team Champion Award is based on The Winning Approach, a best-practice standard launched by the National Trainers Federation (NTF).  Criteria includes effective recruitment and induction systems, a safe and positive working environment, developing staff to fulfil their potential and rewarding achievement.

The Winning Approach takes inspiration from proven staff management best practice in other industries. By adopting the standard and entering the Lycetts Team Champion Award, trainers are able to showcase their yards as great places to come and work for prospective employees.  The standard is underpinned by Core Values which aim to ensure that British racehorse trainers provide the most rewarding and best supported jobs anywhere in the equine sector.

The Winning Approach doesn’t focus on the size of the yard as a measure of success, but instead requires yards to work towards specific outcomes that all trainers are able to comply with regardless of the size of their organisation.   More information on The Winning Approach can be found here.

How does the Team Champion Award work?

Yards can be awarded a rating from one- to three-stars, reflecting how many points they accrue under the assessment criteria.  In order to apply, each yard must first complete Nomination Form, available from the NTF website.  The nomination process requires trainers to work together with their staff to complete the nomination and work through the assessment process. 

Points are given according to how well the yard adheres to The Winning Approach standard, with a maximum of 150 points on offer.  Star-ratings are awarded according to the number of points gained as follows:

  • 70-89 points = 1 Star: yard has a good team ethos and showing promising signs for the future
  • 90 to 114 points = 2 Stars:  awarded to yards who show very good levels of team ethos and staff engagement
  • 115+ points = 3 Stars:  is awarded yards that have shown excellent levels of team ethos and staff engagement

A full list yards awarded a star-rating for 2019 can be viewed here.

Who is doing well? 

Each yard is required to submit evidence for a star-rating annually, building on information put forward in previous years if they have entered before.  Under the system, yards are split into large (more than 40 horses) and small (less than 40 horses) categories.  The top four highest scoring organisations go through to a final judging to win the overall Lycetts Team Champion Award in their category.  Winners for 2019 were Tom Dascombe (40+ horses) and Jedd O’Keeffe (less than 40 horses).  Watch what winning the award means to the team at Jedd O’Keeffe racing below

How do you get involved?

Nominations for the 2020 awards open in September.  Application forms and full information on the process are available via the NTF website.