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Prestigious top prize for stud manager Doherty

Terry Doherty with his employee of the year trophy
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For Terry Doherty it is all about the horses but on Monday night the attention was focused on him as he was named employee of the year at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Doherty, the stud manager of Watership Down Stud, was given his trophy by special guest Freddy Tylicki alongside presenter Ed Chamberlin and champion jumps jockey Richard Johnson at the event at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London.

He also received cheques totalling £40,000, half of which will be shared with his colleagues at Watership Down Stud where the 58-year-old has worked for 24 years, starting before the operation even had horses or a name.

"It will take some time to sink in, tomorrow morning on the way home on the train it will probably hit home because I have got to carry all this stuff," Doherty said afterwards as he held his trophies - he also won the stud staff award.

"It's all about horses, horses, horses. We are dedicated to horses, everybody here is dedicated to horses - people that support this, the judges, everybody is dedicated to horses.

"The beauty of this ceremony is we have had a lot of people all doing the same thing and all caring about the same things."

Doherty's first job in racing came when he joined Garrowby Stud in Yorkshire from agricultural college 38 years ago.

"That was my first foray into racing, it was because I could drive a tractor not because I could look after horses!" he said.

Following a spell at Aston Park Stud in Oxfordshire he "took a chance" on Watership Down Stud near Newbury. "Best chance I ever took," he added.

Having never missed a foaling, the fates smiled kindly on Doherty.

He said: "When I found that I had been nominated for this award I looked at the calendar to see who was due to foal.

"We finished foaling on February 5 and the next mare is due on the 25th so I had a window which was amazing."

Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, the owners of Watership Down Stud, were not able to attend the awards but kept in touch with general manager Simon Marsh through the evening.

They said on Tuesday: "We are very proud that Terry has been given this prestigious award.

"His contribution to the success of Watership Down Stud cannot be underestimated."

Marsh added: "I am absolutely delighted for Terry, he fully deserves it.

"It was an absolutely fantastic evening and I have to say what Sheikh Mohammed has done in putting these awards on and supporting them is quite incredible and I think it is such an important thing for the industry."

In all there was £120,000 in prize-money on offer for the awards hosted by the BHA in conjunction with the Racing Post.

Colin Nutter, whose 45 years as head lad to Sir Mark Prescott earned him the dedication to racing award was another popular winner.

He said: "He's a good boss to work for, he's honest and he has always told me if you tell the truth you'll always get on in life."

Nutter added: "It means a lot, it makes it worth being in racing for 45 years winning this."

Brian Meehan's assistant trainer Rory O'Dowd took the leadership award and said he was "shocked" to receive it.

He added: "You just think you go to work every day and just get on with it.

"The staff we have working for us are just great guys and you are just trying to make their job easy, the whole organisation, the whole place."

Jamie Bunsell from Paul Henderson's stable, who was successful in the rider/groom category, echoed Doherty's sentiment when he said horses were the part of the job he enjoyed most.

Asked what his advice would be to those wanting to join racing's workforce, Bunsell added: "Get in, get to a local yard, get a bit of work experience, get in the racing school. You'll love it, you won't regret it."

Elisha Whittington from Tom Dascombe's yard took the David Nicholson newcomer award.

She thanked her boss and the British Racing School as well as Godolphin and the BHA for putting on the awards, adding: "And also my family for supporting me every step of the way."

Sarah Monkman's work raising the profile of Racing Welfare led to her landing the Rory MacDonald community award.

She said: "Meeting the people today makes you realise what a fantastic community there is in racing and we should really support that."

Retraining of Racehorses presented special recognition awards to Lisa Kozak from Oliver Sherwood's yard and Amy Scott who works for Henry Candy, for their role in retraining former racehorses.

The beauty of this ceremony is we have had a lot of people all doing the same thing and all caring about the same things
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