Awards for hard working stud staff

TWO Queensland racing industry participants, Ian Brady and Hayley Nichols, are among the six category winners of this year’s prestigious Godolphin Stud and Stable awards announced at Moonee Valley racecourse, Melbourne last Friday, December 2.

Initiated by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation in 2005, the awards are now held in Britain, Ireland, the United States and Australia, which started the awards in 2015. They recognise and reward the hard work and dedication of stud and stable staff, acknowledging the huge contribution they make to the racing industry.

Overall winner of the Thoroughbred Excellence Award and the Dedication to Breeding Award was Tasmanian-based Jenny Watson, recognised for 40 years of commitment to the breeding industry in Australia. Currently foaling supervisor at Armidale Stud in northern Tasmania, Jenny also runs her own farm McLeay Thoroughbred Stud where she bred the dual Group 1 winner and 2014 Tasmanian yearling sale-topper Palentino. Jenny has also served for 15 years on the Tasmanian Bloodhorse Breeders board.

Ian Brady, stud manager, Wattle Brae Stud, Nobby, won the Dedication to Leadership category while Hayley Nichols, foreman, Schweida Racing, won the Dedication to Racing category. Their success follows the win by former Queensland jockey Amy Taylor, who won the Dedication to Thoroughbred Care and Welfare category at the inaugural awards last year.

Tom Reilly, CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia – a joint sponsor of the Godolphin Awards – congratulated Watson and the other five winners on their achievements. “Thoroughbred Breeders Australia is proud to be a part of these awards which really do go a long way to recognising the largely unsung heroes of our industry,” he said.

The Thoroughbred Excellence Award carried a prize of $5000 with a further $2000 to be distributed among her workplace colleagues. Each category winner received a prize of $10,000 with a further $3000 to be shared among fellow staff at their employers’ workplace. Each runner-up received $1000.

Ian Brady

Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Award category winners are (from left): Gerry Ryan, stallion manager, Coolmore Stud, NSW (Horsemanship); Nikki Cook, Shory Park Horses, Victoria (Thoroughbred Care and Welfare); Ian Brady, stud manager, Wattle Brae Stud, Nobby, Queensland (Leadership); Jenny Watson, foaling supervisor, Armidale Stud, Tasmania (Overall winner and Breeding); Melanie Caban, office manager, Vinery Stud, NSW (Administration); and Hayley Nichols, stable foreman, Schweida Racing, Brisbane, Queensland (Racing). Picture: Dave Goudie

WINNER of the Godolphin Leadership category, Ian Brady isn’t the type of person who looks for accolades.

The work he does as stud manager at Wattle Brae Stud in Queensland is reward enough for a horseman who has occupied his current position for 19 years and built a life around it. Ian also plays an integral role in training other employees and overseas students who come to Wattle Brae to learn about Thoroughbred breeding from the ground up.

“Ian has taken it all in his stride,” says Wattle Brae principal Gary Turkington.

For Ian, the thoroughbred industry has already rewarded him with a job he loves, but he sees the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards as vital in encouraging younger people to enter the business and to stay in it.

“My association with racing began when I was 10-years-old and I’m now 44. Over the years I’ve been involved, the industry has introduced me to so many really good people. It’s been fantastic. But to have a global enterprise like Godolphin sponsor awards like these adds great incentive. It’s amazing. I can’t tell you how honoured and thrilled I am just to be nominated,” he said.

Hayley Nichols

THE relationship between trainer and foreman is among the closest and most important in racing. Among other things, it is a partnership that requires the utmost trust and devotion – qualities clearly possessed by Hayley Nichols, foreman to Brisbane trainer Kelly Schweida, who won the Godolphin Dedication to Racing category.

Schweida lists “extreme dedication and single-minded focus” among a long list of attributes displayed by Hayley. “Hayley is the first line of care for all our horses – she could have been nominated for almost every category of the awards,” Schweida said.

To Hayley, the nomination came as a surprise, but one she welcomes wholeheartedly. “Being a foreman or a strapper means you do your work day-after-day and don’t always expect much recognition outside your own stable. But these awards mean we are finally recognized. People will know about us and what we do. I take my hat off to Godolphin for acknowledging all the people who work so hard behind the scenes. It shows that they really care,” she said

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