'It is an exciting time of year' - Lowri Allen on her Australian experience
The Cardiff University graduate shadowed agent Will Johnson
Our fifth Flying Start blog in this current batch comes from Lowri Allen, 25, from Bristol. Lowri graduated from Cardiff University in 2016 with a BSc in Chemistry. Alongside her university studies, she was also an exercise rider for trainer Robert Stephens. She completed the British Horse Racing Graduate Development Programme in 2016, undertaking her work placement at the BHA.
Prior to commencing Godolphin Flying Start, she spent three years working at the BHA, where she was first based in the Communications and Corporate Affairs department, as Plus 10 Executive, and later as a Project Officer working across the Equine Health and Welfare, Anti-doping and Integrity and Regulation departments.
The Godolphin Flying Start Programme offers a unique opportunity to spend time working in and learning about the thoroughbred industry in five major racing jurisdictions: Ireland, Britain, America, Australia and Dubai. The 2019-2021 cohort are currently based in Australia and are mid-way through completing externships at trainers, sales houses, bloodstock agents and industry organisations.
The Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale - one of Australia’s premier yearling sales - kicked off 2021. We spent what was an incredible two weeks at the Queensland sale and its associated events.
There was a quality offering and the sale produced stellar results, with the gross being over $211 million – smashing last year’s record of $187.5 million – which saw the 2021 edition become the highest gross yearling sale in Southern Hemisphere history.
I spent my time shadowing bloodstock agent Will Johnson, who I had previously joined for his pre-sale inspections in the Hunter Valley.
Will was mainly buying for Australia’s leading syndicator, Darby Racing Syndicates, and bought a number of exciting prospects who have proven popular among their members and are currently in pre-training.
My time with Will and the Darby team was both educational and enjoyable. During the course of the inspections, I learnt a great deal from Will about purchasing horses for syndication, assessing pedigrees and physical, as well as how to produce high quality marketing materials which best promote horses to clients.
Each Godolphin Flying Start trainee also spent a day with the Magic Millions team, where we assisted with yearling inspections, bid-spotting and sales day paperwork. The bid-spotting was a real thrill and highly entertaining.
As a group, we had the privilege of meeting Katie Page-Harvey, the owner of Magic Millions. A highly successful businesswoman, Katie has been instrumental in developing ideas which highlight and promote the important roles played by women in the racing and breeding industries.
We also attended the Magic Millions raceday which was headlined by the 2YO Classic for Magic Millions graduates. The Classic features a Racing Women’s Bonus of $500,000 which is on offer to the first four all-female owned or leased horses in finishing order in the Magic Millions Classic and is in addition to the prize-money of $2,000,000.
This has been a popular incentive and has resulted in women’s interest in racehorse ownership growing since its inception.
Following on from the Magic Millions sale, I started a seven-week externship with Ciaron Maher Racing’s Warwick Farm Stables, which is led by Godolphin Flying Start graduate, Jack Bruce, in his role as assistant trainer.
My mornings were spent watching trackwork with Jack and racing manager, Johann Gerard-Dubord. It is a busy and exciting time of year with many of the horses gearing up for the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
I also enjoyed working with Ciaron’s bloodstock team - Will Bourne, Sam White and Gabrielle Nutt - who I joined for Inglis Classic Yearlings Sale’s pre-sale inspections in the Southern Highlands and Hunter Valley and then at the sale at the beginning of February. Through my time with the team, I learnt about Ciaron Maher Racing’s client communication, marketing and sales-day processes.
We will finish our externships shortly and thanks must go to our externships hosts, who have provided us with outstanding learning opportunities. We will leave Australia on March 12 to return to Ireland, where we will complete a virtual Dubai phase for two weeks.
We will then resume the usual programme activities with in-person business plan workshops, industry visits and externships, which will take us through to July 2, when we will graduate from the programme.
The Australian phase has been fantastic and thanks must go to all at Godolphin Australia and our Australian coordinator, Tayla Gilmore, for her hard work in facilitating the programme.