The awards recognise the hard work, planning and innovation that goes in to keeping racecourses in tip-top condition and Musselburgh was first past the post ahead of Ascot in the dual flat and jumps category.
Musselburgh’s head of ground staff, Mark Bemrose, and his team were praised by the judging panel for “the improvements in the racing surface at Musselburgh, along with the high standards in all areas and the involvement of the team in development of the new stable complex”.
The Awards are sponsored by Pithcare.com and are now in their 16th year. The judges comprised of representatives of the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys’ Association, with support from the BHA Inspectors of Courses.
Richard Linley, Senior BHA Inspector of Courses, said: “It was an extremely difficult decision for the panel to select a winner in each category for the Pitchcare Neil Wyatt Groundstaff Awards 2011, as yet again groundsmen around the country have demonstrated real commitment to their work and on frequent occasions in very difficult circumstances. There is some impressive work going on at racecourses around the country and the panel has chosen very worthy winners.”
Dale Gibson from The Professional Jockeys Association said: “We all appreciate the hard work that the ground staff put in day in day out and without their effort racing simply would not take place.”
Musselburgh Racecourse general manager, Bill Farnsworth, said the award was a “truly great result” against strong competition.
He said: “Mark and his team deserve great credit for this Award and it reflects the dedication and hard work which goes into the track and grounds at Musselburgh throughout the year.
“Working alongside our clerk of the course, Harriet Graham, we undoubtedly have one of the strongest ground staff in the country and I don’t think anyone who has visited the course would object to Musselburgh’s team receiving this accolade.”
This latest award follows on from Musselburgh being recognised for its Operational Excellence in the Racecourse Association Showcase Awards. The East Lothian track has also been nominated for the Racecourse of the Year title in the Betview Awards which will be judged in May.