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Racing Welfare’s Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS), funded by the Racing Foundation, have announced the finalists for their inaugural CATS Personal Development Award, sponsored by Hartpury University.

The CATS Personal Development Award aims to recognise the person who has put the most dedication and effort into developing their career in racing after using the CATS service.  The judges will be looking for someone who has been proactive and has taken every opportunity available to develop themselves in the racing industry.

The three finalists are invited to an awards lunch at the final meeting of the season at Newmarket Racecourse on Friday 29 October, at which the winner will be announced having been considered by a panel of industry judges.

Catherine Porter, Head of Department at Hartpury narrowed the entrants down to this point from a really strong field of applicants. Catherine said; “It was great to see so many positive outcomes from everyone who had submitted an entry.  The way in which they had engaged with CATS in order to not only further their own development, but also use their own training to then have a positive impact on others within the industry.”


The three finalists are:

Maddy O Meara

Maddy is head girl and first international travelling person to trainer Andrew Balding and it was her interest in fitness and nutrition alongside a plan to provide classes for her colleagues in the yard which led her to the CATS service. With funding from the NTF’s Charitable Trust through CATS, she completed her level 2 and 3 qualifications in personal training alongside a level 4 in nutrition and is now using this to run a range of wellbeing classes to the team at Kingsclere.

David Arbuthnot

Following a long career as a racehorse trainer, despite knowing that he wanted to stay in the industry David was unsure what direction to take his career following retirement so came through the CATS service for some intensive careers coaching sessions.  Through exploring his strengths and passions it became clear to him that he would like to try to offer something back to the industry in some way.  Therefore, he took the challenging decision to embark on his journey to become a qualified counsellor funded by an NTFCT grant and is now studying for his Level 4 counselling qualification which will allow his to practice as a counsellor in the industry.

Jess Bedi

Having started training point to pointers it soon became a goal for Jess to have her full training licence and she used the CATS service to achieve this goal.  After been advised on the training route she would need to take Jess obtained funding through the NTFCT to complete her Level 3 NVQ and trainers modules and having been granted a licence is now up and running a successful training business.  She has trained two winners to date so far, the first of which she even rode herself!

To find out more about the awards please visit: