Record nominations from across the country and from all sections of the thoroughbred industry have been condensed to a short list of 36 candidates for the 2022 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA).
The Australian edition of the SSSA, staged jointly by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, Racing Australia and Godolphin, is part of the worldwide series of awards that shine a spotlight on the thousands of staff whose devotion, skill and commitment ensures the survival of an entire industry.
In 2022, the eighth staging of the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards will again deliver some of the most inspirational moments of the industry’s year. Over the nominations period, the Shortlisting Committee was presented with a record number, and increased quality of written nominations. Undoubtably, making the selection process the most difficult and debated for the SSSA’s dedicated Shortlisting Committee.
The Committee, chaired by Melissa Weatherley, includes Jenny Watson and Peter Heagney and this year welcomed James Tzaferis of Racing.com who bought additional resources and fresh eyes to the shortlisting process.
Key insights from the committee included the number of new Award nominees and nominators with an expectational number of nominations in the Newcomer category, providing the Committee with great optimism in the quality and dedication of new people entering the industry.
By the time the winners are announced at next month’s ceremony, the SSSA will have provided cash rewards approaching $1 million.
But for all who have been nominated, the most significant reward is recognition.
As the 2021 Thoroughbred Excellence Award winner Gary Fennessy said: “Racing provides some of the greatest thrills anybody could experience, but to know that the work we do is recognised and acknowledged means everything.”
Liz Andriske, whose tireless work rehoming retired racehorses earned her three nominations before she received the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award in 2020, expressed similar sentiments.
“None of us do this for the money, it’s all for the love of the horses, so to just be a part of it is incredibly satisfying,” Andriske said.
In the past year, the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry, like every part of the community, has again had to deal with the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Again, it has risen to these challenges, hardly missing a beat, thanks largely to the care and conscientious effort of those industry participants who are rarely seen or heard.
“COVID had the potential to inflict enormous damage on this industry, but we came through it as well as we did because everyone at every level did what was needed,” said Tom Reilly, CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.
“Without that effort from all sections of this industry, it could have been a very different story.”
In 2022 the SSSA has the support of sponsors from across the racing and breeding industry for each of the seven award categories.
The Dedication to Breeding and Dedication to Racing are sponsored respectively by Magic Millions and the Australian Turf Club; the Horsemanship by Inglis and; Thoroughbred Care and Welfare by Racing Queensland, Leadership by the Victoria Racing Club; Administration and Ancillary Services by the Melbourne Racing Club Foundation, and the Newcomer by Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Marcus Oldham College.
An overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award sponsored by Godolphin goes to a winner from the above categories (excluding the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare and Newcomer), judged to have made a “significant, exceptional contribution” to the industry.
The winners in each category, excluding the Newcomer, will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and a trophy with $3000 to each runner-up and $1000 to share among workplace colleagues. The Newcomer winner receives $5000 and an educational visit to Dubai while the Thoroughbred Excellence winner receives a further $5000 cash prize.
The shortlist of nominees for the 2022 SSSA are:
Leadership Award sponsored by Victoria Racing Club (Stud or Stable): Fionnan McCarthy (McEvoy Mitchell Racing, VIC), Johanne Taylor (Chris Waller Racing, VIC), Liesl Baumann (Cressfield Stud NSW), Samantha Parkes (Godolphin Woodlands, NSW), Sean Keogh (Godolphin Carbine Lodge, VIC).
Horsemanship Award sponsored by Inglis (Stud or Stable): Adam Shankley (Arrowfield Stud NSW), Emile Fredricks (Widden Stud NSW), Hazel Fertier (Freelance Track Rider, SA), Jesse Byrne (Byrne Equine WA), Wajid Ali (Freedman Brothers NSW).
Dedication to Breeding Award sponsored by Magic Millions: Ashley Porter (Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, VIC), Bailey Allen (Bucklee Farm, VIC), Drew Plater (Strawberry Hill Stud, NSW), Kayleigh Murray (Fernrigg Farm, NSW), Kelly Frost (Godolphin Northwood Park, VIC).
Dedication to Racing Award sponsored by the Australian Turf Club: Brett Killion (Chris Waller, QLD), Karen Oakford (Ellerton Racing, VIC), Michael O’Grady (JKB Racing, TAS), Timothy Hanley (McEvoy Mitchell Racing, VIC), Reg Fleming (Godolphin Carbine Lodge, VIC).
Administration and Ancillary Award sponsored by the MRC Foundation: Amanda Pettman (Arrowfield Stud, NSW), Emma Cully (Star Thoroughbreds, NSW), Jess Hood (Arrowfield Stud, NSW), Kylie Mills (Godolphin Woodlands, NSW), Sam Scally (Cumani Racing, VIC).
Newcomer Award (Stud or Stable) sponsored by Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Marcus Oldham College: Maddeline Dunbar (Godolphin Kelvinside, NSW), Madie Sanders (Travis Doudle Racing, SA), Matilda Jones (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Racing, NSW), Mia Herzog (McEvoy Mitchell Racing, VIC), Michaela Kennedy (Coolmore, NSW), Sacha Roberts (Michael Kent Racing, VIC).
Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award sponsored by Racing Queensland: Fiona McIntyre (McIntyre & Lumsden Equine, VIC), Grace Chantler (Second Chance Horses, VIC), Laura Cheshire (Racing QLD), Louise Abey (Abey Performance Horses, VIC), Lyn Shand (Equus, VIC).