EVE Johnson Houghton has won a special prize for excellence in a national initiative which celebrates the British racehorse training yards with the highest standards of employee management.

Johnson Houghton, who trains at Blewbury, near Didcot, was the joint winner with Hampshire handler Ralph Beckett in the Lycetts Team Champion Award’s recruitment and induction category.

The main awards went to Dan Kubler and Jonjo O’Neill – with the former winning the category for yards with fewer than 40 horses, and the latter taking the prize for stables with 40 or more horses.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the awards could not take place in London’s Institute of Directors, so the trainers were informed of the result in a Zoom webinar.

Meanwhile, Johnson Houghton was on the mark at Newbury, where Gin Palace made all the running to take a mile handicap by a length under a well-judged Charlie Bishop ride.

Elsewhere, trainer John Gallagher was as surprised as anyone after Intercessor became the joint longest-priced winner on the Flat in Britain when springing a massive 200-1 upset at Newbury.

The three-year-old, from Gallagher’s Chastleton stables in the north west of Oxfordshire, had undergone a gelding operation since finishing sixth of seven on his only previous start at Salisbury 353 days ago.

Ridden by Cieren Fallon in a novice stakes over a mile, the 10,000gns purchase rallied under pressure as five runners crossed the line within inches of each other, denying hot favourite Nasraawy, who cost connections a whopping $725,000, by a head.

“I’d be lying if I said I expected that,” said Gallagher.

“The thing is, he gets a bit lit up and buzzy at home. We ran him last year just because we needed to run him.

“He’s a big strong horse, they gave him a soft lead and he just galloped along. To be fair he picked up. 200-1 in a ten-runner race was a big price, but he’s been brave and done it well, so we’re delighted.”

Intercessor was the sixth 200-1 winner in Britain – with three on the Flat and three over jumps – while the biggest priced winner in the UK remains Equinoctial, who landed a Kelso novices’ hurdle at 250-1 in November 1990.

Harry Whittington, whose Sparsholt stables, near Wantage, enjoyed a memorable jumps season, notched a rare Flat winner when Shaffire claimed an extended mile-and-one-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton under Hollie Doyle.

Wantage trainer Henry Candy got his season up and running with Twilighting justifying 6-5 favouritism in a six-furlong handicap at Lingfield with David Probert on board.