David Merrick Wins Major Godolphin Award

David Merrick, stud manager of Widden Stud, has won the major Thoroughbred Excellence category of the 2019 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Merrick also collected the Dedication to Breeding Award announced at the GSSSA presentations at Randwick on September 6.

The awards acknowledge Merrick's lifetime in the thoroughbred industry, the past 26 years spent at Widden.

For Merrick, his latest recognition follows his naming in 2018 as winner of the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders' coveted Murray Bain Award that honours outstanding achievements in the breeding industry.

"I've worked in the industry for 40 years and to achieve some recognition for the work you have put in is a great result," said Merrick.

"There are such incredible people who work in this industry and to get recognition is a real boost."

Widden general manager Derek Field praised Merrick for his leadership, dedication and "a total involvement in every aspect of the business at any time of the night or day, year-after-year."

"David's passion and time and his selfless attitude of forever giving is something he should be proud of," Field said.

"David has devoted his life to the breeding industry."

Merrick was one of seven award winners chosen from a record 150 nominations representing every area of the racing and breeding industry.

Each of the winners received a trophy and a cash prize of $10,000 with $3000 to share among fellow workers.

Each runner-up each received $1,000 while The Newcomer Award winner received $5,000 plus $3,000 to fellow workers plus an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai. The runner-up received $1,000.

The Thoroughbred Excellence Award winner received a trophy and $5,000 in addition to their prize for winning their category plus an additional $2,000 to fellow workers.

Dedication to Breeding: David Merrick (Widden Stud). Runner-up: Stephanie Mitchell (Mungrup Stud).

Dedication to Racing: Steve Adams (Anthony Freedman Racing). Runner-Up: Michael Shepherdson (McEvoy Mitchell Racing)

Leadership: David White (Vinery Stud). Runner-up: Simon Johnson (Godolphin)

Horsemanship: Warren Sutton (McEvoy Mitchell Racing). Runner-up: Nigel Bentley (Arrowfield Stud)

Administration: Cecelia O'Gorman (Thoroughbred Breeders Australia). Runner-up: Susan Willis (Yulong Investments)

Thoroughbred Care and Welfare: Lindy Thewlis (self-employed). Runner-up: Fiona McIntrye (self-employed)

Newcomer: Talia Cranfield (Godolphin). Runner-Up: Alyssa Pickels (Kitchwin Hills Stud).

The Godolphin awards were devised by Godolphin's founder Sheikh Mohammed to recognise stud and stable staff who are the backbone of the horseracing industry. Godolphin sponsors the awards in five countries.

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