Two of British horseracing’s stalwarts have been recognised for their dedication to the industry, with presentations taking place on Friday 21st October at Cheltenham and Newbury racecourses.
Organised by Racing Welfare, the Lifetime in Racing Awards seek to celebrate those who have devoted more than 30 years of their lives to working in horseracing. Following a national campaign, 37 nominations were received by the charity, with four regional winners selected by a judging panel.
South winner Geoff Rigby, a former apprentice and now stable staff at Park House Stables, was put forward by his employer Andrew Balding. Geoff first arrived at the Kingsclere yard in 1968 and has been there ever since, looking after some top horses including 2021 Royal Ascot Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow.
Andrew said: “Geoff had to give up riding about 15 years ago but has continued with his stable duties and continuing to look after his horses to a high standard. He’s a fantastic member of the team, very popular – and all of this in spite of him having suffered an awful personal tragedy about ten years ago when he lost his son. The way that Geoff has bounced back from that and still has so much to offer as a team player is a testament to his personality. He prides himself on his horses and their achievements and hopefully there will be more good horses for him to look after in the years to come.”
Geoff was joined by his brother for a day of hospitality at the Berkshire course, enjoying lunch in the Hennessy restaurant followed by an afternoon of racing.
The West award was won by Andrew Malam, Head Groundsman at Bangor-On-Dee and Chester racecourses. Andrew started working at Bangor at the age of 19, some 38 years ago, and has risen through the ranks to oversee the track at both Chester Race Company courses. Andrew was joined by his family and colleagues for a day of hospitality at Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting, enjoying lunch in the Gold Cup restaurant followed by an afternoon of racing where the 4.30pm race was named in his honour.
Andrew said of the day: “I’ve had an amazing day. Everyone at the racecourse has looked after me fantastically well. It’s an unbelievable prize to win, I’m very grateful to everybody that nominated me for it.”
Racing Welfare chief executive Dawn Goodfellow was on the judging panel and said: “It’s always such a pleasure to read the stories, and these awards give us the opportunity to shine a light on some of British horseracing’s longest standing staff members who have contributed so much to the sport. It was incredibly difficult to select the winners – in the south and west regions there was more than 260 years in the industry represented by the nominees! Congratulations to Geoff, Andrew and indeed all those who were nominated and thank you to Newbury and Cheltenham racecourse for providing each of our winners with such a wonderful and fitting day.”