McLernon's rapid rise helps her land top honour at Stud and Stable Staff Awards
Jessica McLernon, assistant trainer to Richard Fahey, on Monday scooped the most coveted prize for stable staff in racing when she was named Employee of the Year at the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.
McLernon, 25, received the perpetual Godolphin Trophy from special guest presenter Michael Owen and the event's compere Ed Chamberlin at the gala evening ceremony hosted by the BHA.
She also collected a cheque for £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared among staff at Fahey's Musley Bank Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire.
McLernon also captured the Leadership Award on the night in recognition of her rapid progress to become assistant trainer having only joined the Fahey team in May 2011.
As well as managing day-to-day duties including rotas, allocating staff to go racing and managing veterinary visits, McLernon keeps in regular contact with the office and 75 staff in the yard.
She was shortlisted for the award for her positive, friendly attitude and the skills she has shown in managing, motivating and mentoring staff.
Brough Scott, chairman of the judging panel, said: "The panel’s job was as tough as ever with some inspiring stories of dedication, commitment and hard work among this year’s finalists.
"However, we had to reach a final decision and Jessica is a hugely deserving winner for the amazing progress she has made in her career so far."
BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: "Jessica’s achievement in being named Employee of the Year should not be underestimated. This sport employs 6,000 people whose job it is to provide first-class care and attention to the 14,000 horses in training. To be named as the pinnacle of that remarkable, dedicated workforce is quite a feat."
The awards ceremony took place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge in front of a specially invited audience from across the racing industry.
The winners were decided at a formal judging day at the BHA’s London office in the morning before the ceremony, where the finalists were interviewed by members of the judging panel.
A total of £120,000 prize-money was distributed to the finalists and their yards and studs by sponsors Godolphin.
In addition Adrian Stewart of David Loughnane Racing, who took the David Nicholson Newcomer Award, won a five-day educational trip to Dubai to learn more about that country’s racing, culture and customs. The prize includes a return flight and five nights’ accommodation.
William Reddy earned the Dedication to Racing award for his years of service with the Johnson Houghton family, while John and Jackie Porter, formerly of the Injured Jockeys Fund, landed the Rory MacDonald Community Award for their work at Lambourn’s Oaksey House.
Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards winners
Employee of the Year: Jessica McLernon (Richard Fahey)
Leadership Award: Jessica McLernon (Richard Fahey)
Runners-up: Andrea Kelly (Tim Vaughan), Edward Murrell (Juddmonte Farms)
Rider/Groom Award: Petra Sebestikova (Luca Cumani)
Runners-up: Ben Stephens (Malcolm Jefferson), Faisal Tahir (Henry Spiller)
Stud Staff Award: Sarah Taylor (Mickley Stud)
Runners-up: Kate Ford (Goldford Stud), Daniel James (Brookside Stud)
Dedication to Racing Award: William Reddy (Eve Johnson Houghton)
Runners-up: Chris Jerdin (Oliver Sherwood), Patrick Lennon (Shadwell Stud)
David Nicholson Newcomer Award: Adrian Stewart (David Loughnane)
Runners-up: Hannah Farrell (Dianne Sayer), Josephine Saunders (Hillwood Stud)
Rory Macdonald Community Award: John & Jackie Porter (ex Injured Jockeys Fund)
Runners-up: Angela French (The Racing Centre), Peter Williams (British Racing School)
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