Finalists Announced In 2021 Australian Stud And Stable Staff Awards

Finalists from across the country within the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry have been selected for the 2021 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA).

With awards in seven categories and more than $100,000 in prizemoney, the SSSA offer substantial reward and recognition of the work, contribution and time given by those whose work is mostly performed behind the scenes.

Staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia, the Awards are sponsored by MRC Foundation, Australian Turf Club, Magic Millions, Inglis and supported by Godolphin.

The SSSA offers a $10,000 cash prize to the winners in the areas of Leadership, Horsemanship, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Administrative and Ancillary Services and Thoroughbred Care and Welfare, with a further $1,000 in each category to be shared among their workplace colleagues.

The runner-up in each category receives $3,000.

The SSSA also include a Newcomer Award that carries a $5,000 prize plus an educational experience in Dubai (Covid permitting).

In addition, an overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award of $5,000 is made to the outstanding individual from among the category winners.

The winners as judged by a panel led by South Australia’s chief steward Johan Petzer will be announced at a ceremony on the Gold Coast on 26 May.

The finalists chosen from over 170 entries are:

ADMINISTRATION AND ANCILLARY SERVICES 

Jess Hood – Arrowfield NSW

Cassandra Simmonds – Magic Millions QLD

DEDICATION TO BREEDING 

Carla Aliphon – CityView Farm VIC

Steve Brien- Twin Hills Stud NSW

DEDICATION TO RACING 

Gary Fennessy – Lindsay Park VIC

John Brady – Waterhouse Bott NSW

HORSEMANSHIP 

Mandy Radecker – Michael Lakey QLD

Adam Shankley – Arrowfield NSW

NEWCOMER AWARD

Fiona Bayly – Ciaron Maher Racing VIC

Jack Cripps – McEvoy Mitchell Racing VIC

LEADERSHIP 

Samantha Parkes – Godolphin NSW

David Hanratty – Yarradale WA

THOROUGHBRED CARE AND WELFARE 

Jade Willis – JW Equestrian VIC

Jordan Priest – Eureka Stud QLD

TBA and Aushorse response to claims made in a TDN AusNZ article entitled: Breed, Race, Trace: New rules from May 1

An article in Monday’s edition of TDN AusNZ raised the important issue of traceability and new rules that will require breeders to provide more timely information on the status of their horses, such as change of ownership or location.

In that piece, former Racing Australia chairman and Arrowfield principal John Messara reflected on the introduction of Foal Ownership Declarations in 2016, a change that brought in increased obligations on breeders to notify where an unnamed horse was located and its ownership details. These were an important first step in increasing traceability within the breeding sector.

Before I go on to discuss Mr Messara’s comments, it is worth reflecting on his enormous contribution to the Australian thoroughbred industry. A totemic figure, he has dedicated vast amounts of his time and energy to improving breeding and racing in this country, and I do not believe there is any director of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia or Aushorse, who would say the legacy of those efforts have not been positive.

But Mr Messara’s reflections on the introduction of foal ownership declarations do not align with those of the TBA or Aushorse directors involved in those discussions, or myself. More importantly, his comments do not reflect the genuine concerns the majority of breeders had with Racing Australia’s (RA) initial proposal (read more here). As we were not contacted by TDN AusNZ for a comment in relation to this story, the boards of TBA and Aushorse feel it is important to clarify the record.    

Those concerns related to RA’s attempt to bring all breeders under the rules of racing for their breeding activities, something not mentioned in Monday’s article. The view of TBA was that regulation for breeding should be carried out through the rules of the Australian Stud Book (ASB), the body that had overseen breeding in this country for over a century.

Having spent significant sums defending the authority of the ASB in a legal challenge over its ban on artificial insemination, TBA was well placed to know that the stud book has the power to compel adherence to its rules, with the threat that any breaches may prevent a breeder not being able to register horses.

Another concern was that making all breeders subject to the rules of racing would see Racing Australia, a body that has no representation from our industry, have the authority to make rules without proper input from our sector.

The claim that “the proposal to introduce traceability rules was met with fierce opposition from breeders… led by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association” is misconceived. Did TBA oppose Racing Australia’s proposal to bring breeders under the rules of racing? Yes. Did we oppose reform to improve traceability? Absolutely not.

In fact, rather than stymie reform, TBA made a proposal in 2016 to RA that went far beyond what was being considered, or since adopted, by RA in relation to welfare and traceability (read proposal).

In a document sent to Mr Messara in April 2016, TBA proposed the creation of clearer rules on welfare and traceability, and that any significant breaches of these rules should result in suspension or disqualification preventing breeders from registering a horse in the ASB.

And rather than the TBA fearing breeders would be “subject to constant scrutiny by the stewards”, our proposal actually called for the establishment of specialist stewards to oversee breeding matters. These were to be called Stud Book Stewards and they would have in-depth knowledge of breeding, rather than racing.

We wrote that their responsibilities should include: investigating breaches of traceability and welfare rules; advising and educating on best practices for equine welfare; liaising with animal welfare, industry and government bodies; and referring breaches of the rules to a panel to issue penalties.

Monday’s piece also stated, “We (RA) were right to withstand their opposition in 2016,” suggesting they faced down opposition to carry through their reforms.

In actuality TBA supported the reforms as introduced. They were announced in a joint press release (read here) from TBA and RA in September 2016 in which Mr Messara said: “It is pleasing that the matter has finally been resolved with the TBA.” In the same release Basil Nolan, TBA’s president, said: “We have come to an agreement with Racing Australia… and we look forward to carrying on this consultative relationship.”

What occurred before this announcement was that RA made important concessions around the issue of the rules of racing – clarifying that breeders would only be under the rules that related to welfare and traceability – and it was then that TBA agreed to the proposal. We did so, despite legal opinion stating racing administrators did not have the authority to regulate breeding, because we recognised the benefits of traceability reform.

My own reflections on this issue are that TBA did the job it was established to do some 102 years ago: to represent the best interests of breeders and advocate effectively on their behalf.

Could the introduction of these rules been better handled by all? Undoubtedly. Is it regrettable that relationships were damaged by this issue? No doubt. Were the rules ultimately introduced better than those first put forward? Definitely.

All of this, of course, occurred some five years ago. And as an organisation TBA is concerned with the present and the future, rather than raking over old coals.

I’m pleased to say that the new traceability rules coming in on May 1 were the result of open and collaborative dialogue with RA, including their current chairman Greg Nichols. This process allowed TBA to understand the issues RA were seeking to address, as well as providing them with insight into how changes would impact on breeders. We value this relationship with RA.

But TBA does not sit back and wait to comment on others’ proposals. On the issue of improving equine welfare, no organisation has done more in championing reform.

In 2018 we organised and funded two workshops on welfare, where leaders from the thoroughbred industry (including executives from Racing Australia and all principal racing authorities) could hear from leaders in other sectors on how they met their social responsibility challenges.

Among the topics presented and discussed were: the changing view of racing in the mass media; an account from inside government on the live export scandal and the impact of activism; how Dairy Australia led reform of industry practices to address welfare concerns; what the greyhound industry learned from the live baiting scandal; and how the big brewers put aside their rivalries to form Drink Wise.

At the second of these workshops in December 2018 a proposal was agreed to which would have seen the racing and breeding industry jointly fund a major review, to be carried out by external experts, to highlight our biggest challenges in the welfare and sustainability space.

However, when the proposal was later discussed by RA directors, it was unable to get the support of enough racing authorities to proceed.

While this review may not have prevented the ABC’s damaging 7.30 report into horseracing, it would certainly have put the industry on a surer footing in its response to the issues raised in that program.

In the aftermath of that show TBA again were at the forefront of the debate, publicly calling for an independent and expert review into welfare in racing and breeding, so that all could have their say on improving our industry.

In a meeting with Greg Nichols and then RA chief executive Barry O’Farrell five days after 7.30 aired we urged them to take the lead on this inquiry, and made clear that TBA would make a significant contribution to the costs of forming such an expert panel.

Despite the efforts of the chairman, there was not enough support at Racing Australia to set this body up.

When it was clear Racing Australia could not take the lead on this challenge, TBA was able to pull together a broad coalition of groups – from Tabcorp, through to race clubs and peak bodies – to establish and fund an independent welfare review, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG).

On the announcement of the review federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, said: “I applaud industry for taking the reins and leading from the front… The initiative will improve industry transparency and ultimately improve animal welfare.”

I am pleased to say the TAWWG, which is being chaired by former Victorian premier and veterinarian Dr Denis Napthine and includes RSPCA Australia, will soon be handing down its final report.

The response to their work has been overwhelming. More than 180 people or organisations have made submissions with their suggestions on how to improve the industry: many of these have come from the most senior figures from racing and breeding, including champion trainers, major studs and every racing authority.

I strongly believe the panel’s final report will provide a valuable framework for industry participants, regulators and governments on how racing and breeding ensures the safety of its key participants, its horses, and retains the support of the public at large.

For that reform to take place will require collaboration and open and honest engagement from all the major players in racing and breeding. TBA will be ready to play its role in that debate and we look forward to engaging will all who want to be involved.

Stud & Stable Staff Awards Shortlist announced

The exceptional quality of the record entry for the Australian edition 2021 Stud And Stable Staff Awards has led to extended shortlist of finalists being required in three of the seven categories.

After sorting through more than 170 entries, 38 names will go through to the final judging with 18 names on the shortlist coming from NSW, 12 from Victoria, six from Queensland and two from Western Australia.

The judging panel led by South Australia’s chief steward Johan Petzer will further reduce the list to two finalists.

The 2021 Stud and Stable Awards, staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia and sponsored by Godolphin, the Australian Turf Club, the MRC Foundation, Magic Millions and Inglis will be made at a function at the Gold Coast Turf Club on 26 May.

The nominations shortlisted for the 2021 SSSA:

Leadership Award (Stud or Stable):

Sean Keogh (Godolphin Australia, VIC)

Phoebe Collins (Stewart Barr Racing QLD)

Samantha Parkes (Godolphin Woodlands NSW)

Johanne Taylor (Chris Waller Racing, VIC)

Alexandra Maher (John O’Shea Racing NSW)

David Hanratty (Yarradale Stud WA)

Horsemanship Award (Stud or Stable):

Adam Daly (Newgate Operations NSW)

Emile Fredericks (Widden Stud NSW)

Adam Shankley (Arrowfield Stud NSW)

Mandy Radecker (Michael Lakey QLD)

Simon Wells (Meagher Racing VIC)

Dedication to Breeding Award:

Carla Aliphon (Cityview Farm VIC)

Rebecca Jarvis (Godolphin Woodlands NSW)

Steve Brien (Twin Hills Stud NSW)

Belinda Bracegirdle (Yarradale Stud WA)

Michael Wood (Kooringal Stud NSW)

Dedication to Racing Award:

John Brady (Waterhouse-Bott Racing NSW)

Gary Fennessey (Lindsay Park Racing VIC)

Angela Taylor-Moy (Maher Eustace Racing VIC)

Brett Killion (Chris Waller QLD)

Claire Heuston (Chris Waller NSW)

Administration and Ancillary Award:

Joanna Swan (Kris Lees Racing NSW)

Mary Bowd (Godolphin Woodlands NSW)

Jess Hood (Arrowfield Stud NSW)

Emma Cully (Star Thoroughbreds NSW)

Mia Collins (TAFE NSW)

Cassandra Simmonds (Magic Millions QLD)

Newcomer Award (Stud or Stable):

Imanol Triana (Michael Freedman Racing NSW)

Jack Cripps (McEvoy Mitchell Racing VIC)

Fiona Bayly (Maher Eustace Racing VIC)

Ben Cook (Torryburn Stud NSW)

Rachel Willet (Lilivale Stud QLD)

Andrew Nolan (Coolmore Stud NSW)

Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award:

Lisa Coffey (Racing Hearts VIC)

Jade Willis (Skyfall Park/JW Equestrian VIC)

Jordan Priest (Darling Downs Riding Centre/Eureka Stud QLD)

Louise Abey (Braelands Beef/Abey Performance Horses VIC)

Fiona McIntyre (McIntyre & Lumsden Equestrian VIC)

2020 Strategy review

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) and Aushorse recently released a report titled Strategy Review 2020. This report outlines key initiatives undertaken last year and looks at major issues we are trying to resolve in 2021.

Click here to view a Flipbook of the Strategy Review 2020.

Stud & Stable Staff Awards More Relevant than ever in 2021

In any racing season, the survival and success of the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry are primarily due to the dedication of those who work anonymously behind the scenes.

But during a year in which Australia and the world were affected so disastrously by the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry owed more to its backstage crew than ever.

If not for the diligence and care of all industry participants, Australian racing would have been forced to close down, as it did in many other countries.

It is, therefore, more relevant than ever that Australia’s Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA) will again honour and reward the strappers, stablehands, trackwork riders, breakers, grooms, stud hands, float drivers, office administrative staff, re-homers, and more.

As a tribute to them all, the Stud and Stable Staff Awards offer recognition and more than $100,000 in prizemoney.

Nominations for the seventh edition of the Awards staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia and supported by Godolphin are now open.

Offering prizes in seven categories, plus an overall Excellence Award, the SSSA endeavour to add balance to the way the industry rewards those who keep it going.

TBA Chief Executive, Tom Reilly, said the Awards represented the gratitude the racing and breeding industry owed to its workers.

“Great trust was placed in the industry to take responsibility for its own existence during all the lockdowns and restrictions imposed on the wider community,” Reilly said.

“Much of that trust was borne by those who work in racing stables, on farms and in other areas behind the scenes. Thanks to their conscientious approach to the restrictions and precautions, many livelihoods were preserved.”

The significance of the SSSA is also reflected in the words of the 2019 Excellence Award winner Joe Agresta, a renowned exercise rider who played a vital role in several of trainer Bart Cummings’ Melbourne Cup wins.

“None of us do it for money because there isn’t any. We do it because we love horses, love being with them, love looking after them,” Agresta says.

“These Awards mean so much to everyone who is nominated, not just the winners.

“These are the people who are rarely seen or heard, but they are as important as anyone in the business.”

Nominations for the Awards are open to all workers in all categories and anyone can nominate anyone.

The SSSA categories for 2021 are Leadership, Horsemanship, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Administrative and Ancillary Services and Thoroughbred Care and Welfare, all of which offer a trophy and $10,000 to the winner, $3,000 to the runner-up and $1,000 to share among their workplace colleagues.

In addition, the Newcomer Award carries a $5,000 prize plus an educational experience with Godolphin in Dubai in 2022, with the winner of the Excellence Award receiving $5,000 in addition to the category Award, with a further $1,000 to be shared among colleagues.

Nominations for the 2021 SSSA open on 8 January, they will close on 9 March, and nomination forms are available online via the Stud and Stable Staff Awards website studandstablestaffawards.com.au/

The Awards will be presented at the Gold Coast on the 26 May.

Supporting Your Employees’ Mental health

Register For Mental Health Webinar

As we are all too aware, the impacts of Coronavirus has meant 2020 has been a challenging year. Whether it has been maintaining a business in lockdown, being prevented from seeing family and friends or the stress of the economic uncertainty, there have been more reasons for people to feel anxious than before. 

To help farm owners and managers of staff better deal with the challenge of mental health, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia has set up a webinar with mental health educator Pippa Baker. Pippa is known to TBA as she delivers mental health first aid training to our Fast Track students each year.

Pippa will provide some easy steps for supporting staff over the next few months (especially leading into Christmas), and some general tips on fostering good mental health within your team. 

There are two session times to choose from: Monday 30th November 5pm (AEDT) orTuesday 8th December 4pm (AEDT) and you can register for your preferred day by registering here:

Register For Mental Health Webinar

The webinar runs for one hour and we are encouraging all farms to get involved and register. Some of the topics that Pippa will touch on include: 

  • When should you be concerned?
  • Deciding whether to talk to the person
  • Planning your approach
  • How to have the conversation
  • Providing support and information as a Manager

You can read more about Pippa online here.

If you have any questions or would like further information on the webinars, please contact Cecelia at cecelia@tbaus.com.

Movement Of Mares Interstate

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) encourages all breeders sending mares interstate for the coming season to consider their transport plans well ahead of any movements.

TBA has been liaising with state and federal authorities and all governments have stated that breeding remains an essential agricultural activity. As such, thoroughbreds can be moved interstate.

However, anybody transporting horses will need an appropriate border permit for the states they are travelling to and from.

“The message from state governments has been very clear; that breeding is an essential activity and moving a mare between states to be covered is also an essential operational activity,” says Tom Reilly, TBA’s chief executive.

“But I would urge breeders, especially if they are moving horses themselves rather than using a transport company, to look at the application process for the permit they will need to travel and return from interstate.”

These permits often come with restrictions and each person travelling with a horse will need their own documentation and to carry identification.

For example, those travelling from Victoria to NSW will be required to keep a log of their movements while in their home state and then need to self isolate when in NSW. Those travelling into Queensland will also be required to remain isolated from the general public and keep records of where they have been.

In addition to having a valid border permit, TBA recommends that any farm worker moving horses across state boundaries carries a letter from their employer stating that they are carrying out an essential agricultural activity.

“While border permits are essential, I believe that if farm staff also carry a letter stating that they are an employee and that they are carrying out an essential agricultural activity it may avoid delays or confusion at borders,” added Reilly.

“The situation with borders has obviously changed a number of times in recent weeks, so I think having a letter can only help when travelling between jurisdictions.”

TBA suggests a simple short letter that states the person travelling the horse is an employee and they are moving the mare to be covered as part of essential agricultural activity. It should also be dated and have the contact details of the employer farm.

TBA is in ongoing dialogue with state and federal governments and will send out further updates when they are available.

Those breeders wanting to know more about how to apply for travel permits should go to the following sites:

New South Wales
Click here

Queensland
Click here

Victoria
Click here

South Australia
Click here

Tasmania
Click here

Western Australia
Click here

Thoroughbred aftercare welfare working group – issues paper

To assist those wanting to engage with the panel, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Group (TAWWG) have developed an issues paper, which you can download by clicking on the thumbnail below.

The issues paper can be summarised as raising seven areas of interest:

·     What is good welfare
·     Thoroughbred breeding
·     Traceability
·     Programs for horses leaving racing and breeding
·     Regulatory framework
·     Humane processing of horses
·     Research and Development

Also included in the document are the Terms of Reference.

These submissions will feed into the panel’s report, due for publication later this year, which will make practical recommendations to assist the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries in improving welfare outcomes.

The deadline for submissions is July 24, 2020. The TAWWG are keen to hear from all of those who are interested in this issue.

If individuals or groups have an idea to share, it is recommended to download and read the issues paper and then follow the instructions on how to make a submission.

Further information about the inquiry is available at thoroughbredwelfareinitiative.org.au

Expert panel seeking submissions to improve welfare of thoroughbreds

The independent welfare panel that was set up by the thoroughbred industry earlier this year, and is chaired by former Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine, is calling for submissions from interested parties to assist its aim of improving the welfare of horses leaving the racing and breeding industries.

From today until 12pm on Friday, July 24 2020, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG) is seeking submissions from any groups or individuals who wish to have their say on the best methods of protecting the health and wellbeing of all thoroughbred horses, most notably those exiting the racing and breeding industry.

These submissions will feed into the panel’s report, due for publication later this year, which will make practical recommendations to assist the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries in improving welfare outcomes.

The four-person panel, which was formed by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) in conjunction with a host of industry stakeholders including the Australian Trainers’ Association and Australian Jockeys’ Association, is made up of Dr Napthine, who also previously served as Victoria’s Minister for Racing and is a qualified veterinarian; Dr Ken Jacobs, a former director of the Australian Veterinary Association; Dr Bidda Jones, Chief Science and Strategy Officer for RSPCA Australia; and Jack Lake, a senior advisor on agricultural policy in the governments led by former prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd.

As well as taking written submissions, the TAWWG will also aim to meet with a range of stakeholders from both inside and outside the racing and breeding industries, including animal welfare groups, over the coming months.

“This project can only be successful if there is strong engagement from all stakeholders, including animal welfare groups, the racing and breeding industries and indeed anyone who has valuable insights to share, so we would encourage as many people as possible to come forward and have their say,” said Dr Napthine.

“This important process will be open and transparent, and so anyone who wishes to provide their views, information and expertise will be given the opportunity to assist the panel’s considerations and guide our consultation process.

“We look forward to engaging with a wide range of people so that we can formulate a plan to ensure the health and welfare of all thoroughbreds, particularly those who have retired or who never made it to the racetrack.

“Thoroughbreds are central to an industry that provides 72,000 full-time jobs and generates more than $9 billion each year in direct and indirect benefits to Australia’s economy, so the industry has a duty of care to look after them before, during and after their racing careers.”

During their extensive consultation period, the TAWWG will also be seeking assistance and advice from an industry steering group comprising leading trainer Chris Waller, best known for training Winx; Neil Werrett, Board Member of the Victoria Racing Club and part-owner of Black Caviar; Vin Cox, Managing Director of Godolphin Australia; John Kelly, owner of Newhaven Park Stud; Martin Talty, CEO of the Australian Jockeys’ Association; Andrew Nichol, CEO of the Australian Trainers’ Association; and Tom Reilly, CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

Any groups or individuals considering making a submission are first encouraged to read the issues paper available online at the TAWWG’s official website (thoroughbredwelfareinitiative.org.au). The paper raises a number of topics and questions that the panel believe are relevant to their work.

“We are grateful to the panel for giving their time and expertise for this project, which is so important for the future of the thoroughbred industry and our horses,” said Mr Reilly.

“I am hopeful that every organisation or person with an interest in thoroughbred welfare will want to contribute, from governments to regulators through to participants and welfare groups.”

The TAWWG may wish to quote from extracts of submissions, with appropriate attribution, unless those making submissions request they remain confidential. Submissions can be emailed to secretariat@thoroughbredwelfareinitiative.org.au or posted to TAWWG, PO Box 149, Canterbury, NSW 2193.

For more information, please visit thoroughbredwelfareinitiative.org.au

ENDS

For more information contact:

Dr Denis Napthine

Tom Reilly

Background: In February this year the federal, state and territory governments established working groups to look at developing standards and guidelines for the welfare and transport of horses, and also the feasibility of a national horse traceability register.

In a report tabled in November last year, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee recommended the development of a traceability register. They said the register must serve a biosecurity function at its core, but also be designed in a way “that enables additional features to be incorporated into the system as it progresses” including the tracking of retired racehorses.

Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards finalists announced for 2020

They represent the thousands of mostly unseen, often unsung and thoroughly essential members of Australia’s racing and breeding industry.

The 14 finalists announced today in the 2020 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards are the best-of-the-best in occupations ranging from mucking out stables, to administration, to education, riding, delivering foals, rehoming and retraining ex-racehorses and every other area of an industry that is one of the nation’s biggest.

People like Mandy Radecker, whose success as a jockey has been followed by a career curing problemed racehorses of their bad habits and passing on her knowledge.

Radecker’s nomination in the Horsemanship category is backed by the simple endorsement from her boss, Queensland trainer Michael Lakey: “Mandy has dedicated her life to the thoroughbred horse.”

Two of this year’s finalists, Kelly Colledge in the Newcomer category, and Sarah Moran in the Administration and Ancillary category, both demonstrated great resourcefulness in difficult circumstances.

The relatively inexperienced Colledge took over the running of Grafton trainer Brenden Mackay’s stable when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

As Mackay said: “Kelly saved my stable and is keeping my dream alive. She has a ‘next-level’ work ethic.”

Similarly, Sarah Moran, who worked in the office of Melbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths, stepped up when her boss was battling a brain aneurysm during 2019.

“I don’t know how we would have coped if Sarah hadn’t taken on a variety of extra roles. She was instrumental in keeping our business afloat,” Griffiths said.

Others, like Godolphin’s Simon Johnson, the Assistant Stud Manager at Woodlands Stud and a finalist in the Leadership Award, is commended as “exactly the person these awards were created for”.

Johnson, a highly accomplished horseman and dedicated educator, sees his role as a broad one.

“We have a duty to give everyone who comes into the industry and who shows a willingness to learn the opportunity to advance themselves,” Johnson said.

“These Awards recognise not so much the people like me, but all of those who give so much to ensure their farms and the industry are successful.”

In the Dedication to Racing category, Brett “Lofty” Killion has worked for some of Australia’s finest trainers over the past 25 years and is now the Brisbane foreman for Chris Waller.

Renowned as one of the few in the game who would arrive at Randwick before his first boss, Gai Waterhouse, Killion is described by his nominator as “honest, hard-working and ever-loyal”.

“Lofty has learned from people like Gai and her father’s legendary foreman ‘Spider’ Barker. He’s been influenced by a man with the outstanding horsemanship skills and eye of John Thompson and by the methodical search for perfection of Chris Waller,” his nominator, Reg Fleming said.

“He’s taken something from all of them.”

The Stud and Stable Staff Awards are supported by Godolphin worldwide and in Australia are staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia with sponsorship from the Melbourne Racing Club Foundation, the Australian Turf Club and Magic Millions.

TBA Chief Executive Tom Reilly said the 2020 Awards are made against a testing background that has demonstrated more clearly than ever the value of those who keep the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry at their world-leading level.

“Australia was one of the few racing jurisdictions in the world where racing continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the reasons for that was the dedication and discipline of the entire workforce,” Reilly said.

“The SSSA’s again highlights the quality of those who work behind the front line in the most vital roles.”

MRC Foundation Chief Operating Officer Warren Horton said his organisation was proud to again sponsor the Admin and Ancillary Award.

“The work these individuals perform behind the scenes is truly remarkable and they are the true unsung heroes of our industry. Good luck to all the nominees,” Horton said.

The full list of finalists in the seven SSSA categories is:

Leadership – Michael Shepherdson (McEvoy Mitchell Racing) and Simon Johnson (Godolphin)

Horsemanship – Wendy Smith (Blue Gum Farm) and Mandy Radecker (Michael Lakey Racing)

Australian Turf Club Dedication to Racing – Brett Killion (Chris Waller Racing) and Michael Hurry (Victoria Racing Club)

Magic Millions Dedication to Breeding – Chris Cooper (Godolphin) and Martin Bruechert (Coolmore Australia)

Melbourne Racing Club Foundation Administration and Ancillary – Tetsuhito Hirose (IRT) and Sarah Moran (Griffiths Racing)

Newcomer – Kelly Colledge (Brendan Mackay, trainer) and Alyssa Pickels (Kitchwin Hills Stud)

Thoroughbred Care and Welfare – Jade Willis (Skyfall Park) and Liz Andriske (SpareOne Rehoming)

The winner in each category, other than the Newcomer, receives $10,000 and a trophy with a further $3,000 to share among workplace colleagues. The winner in the Newcomer category receives $5,000.

A further $5,000 and a trophy is awarded for Thoroughbred Excellence to the category winner (except Newcomer and Care and Welfare) judged to have made an exceptional and significant contribution throughout the year.

The winners of each category will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 17 at 7:30PM AEST via the Stud and Stable Staff Awards Website.