Media release: Ayr Racecourse wins prestigious Neil Wyatt ground staff award

AYR Racecourse has won one of the most prestigious honours in the racing industry – the Neil Wyatt Ground Staff Award for the Best Dual Purpose Course.

Says a spokesperson: “This is only the second time Ayr has received this recognition – having previously been successful in 1996, the inaugural year of the award.”

Clerk of the course, Emma Marley, said: “We are overjoyed to be voted winners of the Neil Wyatt Dual Purpose Racecourse Award for 2010. The grounds team have worked remarkably hard over the past year to achieve wondrous results with the racing surface and to restore confidence within the racing community.

“Ayr Racecourse directors have, and continue to be, extremely supportive of our initiatives and have invested significantly to enhance the racing surface and introduce portable fences.

“We would like to thank all trainers, jockeys and owners who have supported us over the year and who have made this industry recognition possible.”

The spokesperson added: “The judging panel was pleased to reward the significant improvements at Ayr Racecourse. In particular, they recognised the professionalism, level of investment and communication by the racecourse which has resulted in strong support for the team from trainers and jockeys.

“Judging of the awards took place on Thursday 20 January 2011 and the panel comprised representatives of the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys’ Association, with support from the BHA Inspectors of Courses.

“The awards, organised by the Racecourse Association and sponsored by in association with ALS and Fornells, are in their 15th year and recognise the achievements of racecourse groundstaff.”

Richard Linley, senior BHA inspector of courses, said: “The vagaries of the British climate have yet again challenged groundsmen around the country during 2010, the huge effort and commitment demonstrated by those groundsmen to their racecourses never ceases to amaze me.

“It must never be forgotten that it can be just as difficult to manage sports turf in the height of summer as well as in the depths of winter, swapping frost covers for irrigation equipment and in each case trying to manage the expectations of all the participants and customers.

“There are only three Official winners, but there are many winners in my eyes, and appropriate this year that the all-weather courses are recognised for their significant contribution to the industry during 2010 with special merit awards.”

Rupert Arnold, of the National Trainers Federation, said: “Reading the nominations, I was struck by the amount of good work going on around the racecourses by very dedicated teams of groundstaff.

“Much of this is unseen by those outside racecourses and the great value of the Neil Wyatt Groundstaff Awards is they bring the outstanding examples to a wider audience.”

Dale Gibson from the Professional Jockeys’ Association, said: “We have all appreciated the hard work and commitment that groundstaff put in day in, day out.

“Recently, the severe weather has made their job harder. The PJA recognise that, and in our eyes the majority of courses are all winners. The four safety officers submitted their nominations to those tracks that they thought were outstanding, which all received recognition.”

Other awards went to Salisbury for the best flat track  and Market Rasen for the best jumps track.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.

Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the wealth and rich diversity of entrepreneurial talent and business excellence that abounds here within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.

Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel, Turnberry Golf Resort and South Ayrshire Council, and member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes is executive chair of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, and managing director is public relations consultancy Fame Publicity Services proprietor, Murdoch MacDonald.

Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:

South Ayrshire Council
Clydesdale Bank
Turnberry Hotel and Golf Resort
Ayr Racecourse
Western House Hotel
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Accident & Injury Claims Centre
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers
Donald Ross Estate Agents:
Westgale Ltd Building Contractors
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants
Paligap Creative Agency
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects
JB Management – Training Providers
Brunston Castle Golf Club
Fouters Restaurant
Christie Financial Planning Ltd
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors
Kestrel Press
Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy
West Sound Radio
Easton Property
Easton Kitchens & Bathrooms

For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail


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Contact: Murdoch MacDonald