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Awesome experiences in Australia - but now it's on to Dubai

Second-year trainee Jessica Berry writes from the Godolphin course

Trainees Madison Scott, Meg Hebbert, Amie Karlsson, Laura Robertson and Jessica Berry get their hands on Gai Waterhouse's VRC Oaks trophy
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Over the past month, we have completed our hands-on practical rotations in the Hunter Valley and spent a week each in Sydney and Melbourne. Now, as our time in the southern hemisphere is drawing to a close, we are completing individual work placements across Australia and New Zealand.

One of the highlights of our time has been preparing and presenting our Australian Conference to Racing New South Wales. Racing NSW have recently purchased a 2,400 acre property near Mudgee, with the intention of developing it into a retraining and rehoming facility for all retired racehorses entrusted to their care.

Aftercare is a major part of horse welfare, and crucially the public perception of horse welfare, and we all agreed that it is important to do something proactive to address it.

The conference was an opportunity for us to present our ideas for marketing retrained thoroughbreds for second careers, as well as create a shopfront for horse welfare in the industry. It is wonderful to see Racing NSW leading the world on this topic!

Following the conference, we made the drive from Sydney to Melbourne for what was by far one of the most exciting weeks on the course to date. 

We were fortunate to attend the races on Victoria Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day and VRC Oaks Ladies Day at Flemington. It was inspiring to see Joseph O’Brien as a trainer the same age as most of us achieve a historic Melbourne Cup victory on the international stage. It was also exciting to have Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott win their first Group 1 VRC Oaks with Pinot.

Adrian is a graduate of the Godolphin Flying Start programme, and four members of our year have had the privilege of working with Gai and Adrian prior to commencing the course. That number will become five with Madison Scott currently completing her Australian work placement with Gai.

In between the race days we toured some truly remarkable training facilities and had the opportunity to visit the Victorian Racing Club offices to learn about the history of the Melbourne Cup. We were even fortunate enough hold the iconic trophy itself - with gloves on, of course!  

For our final three weeks down under, we have all gone our separate ways for work placements across Australia and New Zealand. Four trainees are placed with trainers Bjorn Baker, Tony Gollan, Snowden Racing and Gai Waterhouse. Another three have made the journey to New Zealand to work with New Zealand Bloodstock, Waterford Bloodstock and Windsor Park. 

The remaining four are completing placements with Racing New South Wales, Newgate Farm, James Harron Bloodstock and Vinery, and I am working with the Godolphin Racing Team at Crown Lodge, in Sydney.  

After the Australian phase concludes we will take a break for the Christmas holiday before resuming the course again in January. The next phase of the course is, for me at least, the most highly anticipated of all: our time in Dubai.

We have so many amazing opportunities through Godolphin Flying Start, and each of us are very thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum for making this journey possible for us.

For more information on the initiative, visit the Godolphin Flying Start website

For complete coverage of racing and bloodstock in Australia and New Zealand, download ANZ Bloodstock News every day

Aftercare is a major part of horse welfare, and crucially the public perception of horse welfare

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