YEARS of hard work has paid off for three Marlborough-based stable staff who are in the running for a national award.

Tony Gorman, head lad at Richard Hannon’s stables in Collingbourne Ducis, and Rory O’Dowd, assistant trainer at Brian Meehan’s stables at Manton, have been shortlisted for the Leadership Award at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Mr O’Dowd has 25 years’ experience of working with racehorses and has knowledge of all 80 horses on the yard. “I’m just over the moon,” he said. “This is what I have done my whole life and it’s just fantastic to have my hard work recognised.

“I’m up against two great people so I don’t know what my chances are of winning. I’d like to think I have just as good a chance as them but it’s just great to get this far.”

Mr Gorman has worked for Richard Hannon Racing for 24 years and helps with the day-to-day running of the operation, including travelling horses domestically and internationally.

His colleague Maxine Ledger, head girl at the stables, is also up for the Dedication to Racing Award.

The winner will receive a prize of £5,000 and the winner’s yard will also be given £5,000 to share among staff.

Both runners-up will win £2,000 each, with the same amount shared between their colleagues.

Mr O’Dowd and Mr Gorman are up against Adam Kite from Andover and will have to wait until the award ceremony at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London on February 25 to find out if they have won.

The evening will be compared by Clare Balding and the awards will be Marlborough-based champion jockey AP McCoy.

The category winners will then be considered for the Employee of the Year Award.