Saffron Walden horse professional reaches finals of Godolphin awards
PUBLISHED: 16:25 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:25 24 February 2016
A Saffron Walden equine professional says he is ecstatic to have reached the final stages of a prestigious annual awards event focusing on the care given to British racehorses.
Stuart Thom, 43, has worked at Lofts Hall Stud in Saffron Walden for 12 years and has now been announced as a finalist for the 12th annual Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards following a nomination by his employer Hugo Lascelles.
Mr Thom was told of his nomination last month by organisers the British Horseracing Authority, and says the news is “fantastic”.
“It’s the first time I’ve been nominated, and I’m really happy,” he said.
“We were a small site to start with here. When I arrived in 2004 there were only 18 stables and four horses so we’ve really built it up. Now we have 50 stables and, at our busiest, 70 horses.”
Passionate about horses and their welfare, Mr Thom began working in the equine world when he travelled to Newmarket from his native Ayrshire in 1988.
“My father was a dairy farmer; he had horses as a hobby and had a trainer’s permit,” he said.
“I’ve always loved horses.”
Now, Mr Thom manages a team of five at Lofts Hall, overseeing a variety of changes on site such as the design of new paddocks.
As a finalist in this competition, Mr Thom is now guaranteed a share of the £120,000 prize money, with every penny won being matched and shared amongst his yard by sponsors Godolphin.
Employer Hugo Lascelles of Lofts Hall Stud said: “Stuart is dedicated and passionate about his job, and he is very worthy of this award.”
The final judging takes place on Monday, February 22 when Mr Thom – who will be taking his wife and two daughters along - is invited to a special reception in the Houses of Parliament.
The winners will be announced at an evening ceremony hosted by Clare Balding and Sir AP McCoy at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London.