Winner announced for the 2021 Toby Balding Award

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is delighted to announce that Travelling Head Girl at Philip Hobbs Racing, Zoe Moore-Williams is the winner of the 2021 Toby Balding Award.

Daughter of trainer Dai Williams and keen equestrian in and outside of racing, Zoe has worked in the industry full time since 2015. She started at Hobbs’ yard in 2017 and has spent the last four years establishing herself as an integral member of his staff. In addition to undertaking additional professional development opportunities wherever possible and demonstrating total commitment to the welfare of horses in her care, her sights are set on becoming an Assistant Trainer. Applying for the Toby Balding Award for training and development was the ideal opportunity to kick start this next stage of her career in racing.

The annual award of £3,000 is funded by the National Trainers Federation Charitable Trust (NTFCT) from a donation made by the Swire Trust. The award is held in memory of late racehorse trainer Toby Balding OBE who was dedicated to the support and development of young people in the horse racing industry. The award was created to enable a racing groom with the drive and ambition to develop themselves, to map out a training plan demonstrating how they would invest in themselves and their career, given the funding opportunity.

Zoe impressed the judges with her commitment to the industry and her team through the training she has sought out and undertaken already. On top of her demanding schedule as Travelling Head Girl, Zoe is a Brand Ambassador for, a platform dedicated to aspiring and existing racing grooms. Zoe regularly contributes blogs, images and social media takeovers bringing behind the scenes content to the community. In addition, she managed to find time to complete no less than six online courses last year through the Racing2Learn platform for continued professional development.

With the grant, Zoe plans to not only take the Assistant Trainer course but is also looking to complete additional courses and qualifications that will firmly establish her career in racing and give her the broadest possible perspective. Namely she intends to complete a management course, racing secretary course, equine massage qualification and gain work experience abroad.

Throughout her application, Zoe impressed us with her dedication to her work, the horses in her care, her team and the wider industry. We are delighted to award Zoe with this training grant to help her realise her goal of becoming an Assistant Trainer. The ambition and dedication in her application is exactly what the award is set up to celebrate and encourage in our valued racing grooms.’

Rupert Arnold, Chair of the National Trainers Federation Charitable Trust

Completing this training plan will give me so many opportunities to develop a lifelong career in racing. There are so many people, especially women, who come to a point where they can progress no further in the industry and I don’t want to be one of them. I want to help make a change so that no matter what age or ability, people are able to have a long term career in the racing industry. I want to make people aware of all the options and training paths that are already in place for people to develop their careers and training.’

Zoe Moore-Williams

Zoe is a great asset to the industry and sets an example to our other staff of the perfect team worker. Zoe helps organise yard social events and promotes the yard wherever possible including in interviews on TV and social media.’

Philip Hobbs

The 2022 Toby Balding Award for training and development will open for submissions in September 2021. Racing Grooms interested in applying should sign up to to be the first to hear when applications open.