We are happy to announce that Paul Henderson Racing has nominated our work rider and groom Jamie Bunsell for the Godolphin Rider/Groom Award 2016. The award is for those who have shown a talent for horsemanship, consistency and reliability in and out of the saddle and/or have achieved something outstanding in the 2016 season either in an equine or personal capacity.
Jamie is a fantastic asset to the yard and works tirelessly and unselfishly to ensure our horses are some of the best looked after around. Jamie's relentless work ethic is combined with his outstanding ability as a rider. His skill in the saddle has been clearly demonstrated by the work he has done with Un Beau Roman this season, which has already led to a Cheltenham winner.
Paul himself made the nomination, and shared his own personal thoughts on Jamie:
"I'd first worked with Jamie at David Elsworth's 15 years ago when he was a young lad. He has worked for me for the past four years and in that time he has always been on time and has worked hard throughout that period.
Jamie is an exceptional rider and is able to ride even the most difficult pullers . This came to the fore when last season 'Un Beau Roman' got very keen and wound up at home and this transmitted in his races. Wayne Hutchinson rode the horse at Kempton and won and then rode him a few months later and commented that he was not the same horse. He was much too free and was rushing his fences . Jamie rides the horse every day and has kept him relaxed for the last six months. The horse became a lot more switched off and I was able to train him in a relaxed manner. He then went on to win first time out this season at Cheltenham, giving the yard its biggest ever win. He took the horse to the races, prepared him and also won best turned out.
Jamie takes many horses racing and puts in the hard work to prepare them and keep them relaxed at the races. He is particularly good at handling young horses and he often wins best turned out. Although he wins the money he is happy to pool it and share it amongst the other lads in the yard at Christmas time as he appreciates that the conditioning of the horses is a team effort.
I remember one time in the summer when one lad was injured and another lad was on a course, another lad's mother was gravely ill, Jamie came into work early, rode through his break and finished late riding seven lots when we normally ride three to four. He was happy to put in the hard work in order to get the yard through this difficult couple of weeks. He never complained. I believe he was happy to put himself out in order to help his mates whilst they were unable to work.
Colin Tizzard came to the yard one day and watched my horses up the gallops. He saw Jamie and said hello and turned to me and said "he's a good lad that Jamie". I think it is known throughout the industry that he is a good honest worker and an exceptional rider.
All the owners appreciate his hard work and easy going nature which obviously transmits through to the horses he's riding. He has been known to sing (terribly) whilst riding particularly difficult horses but it seems to do the trick. He has a great sense of humour which is obviously required in this job and although he is famed for his dreadful one-liners, our 9 and 11-year-old daughters think his jokes are great. As a family man with three young children of his own, he has remained committed to his life in racing whilst also being a dedicated father. In his own words, he has said on more than one occasion that he is never happier than sitting on the back of a horse.
We are only a small yard but Jamie plays a key part in keeping the team together and motivated. I and my team have no hesitation in nominating Jamie for this prestigious award."
We will keep you posted on progress, but whatever the outcome, we're proud to have Jamie as part of the Paul Henderson Racing team!