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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Foaling outside at 2am in shorts and t-shirt feels a world away from home

Second-year trainee Luke Morgan gives an update on the Godolphin course

Our writer Luke Morgan (right) and (from left) Todd Pollard, Christopher Farrell, Tim Donworth, Jack Carlino and Joe Callan sample the delights of Hong Kong
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The international meeting in Hong Kong marked the end of 2017 for the latest crop of second-year students on Godolphin Flying Start.

In what was a great weekend, we were given a warm welcome by Pat Cummings and the team at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, ensuring we had the best experience possible. With there being a strong local team on hand, it was good to see Highland Reel bow out on a high with a seventh victory at the top level following his tough performance in the Hong Kong Vase.

The months since touching down in Australia back in August have certainly been busy and flown by. For me, the time was taken up with spells at Arrowfield Stud and with stallions at Godolphin’s Kelvinside, both in the Hunter Valley. Alongside that practical work was the academic work, and the leadership module provided by the University of Sydney proved insightful.

'Externships' often prove the highlight of any phase and it was no different for me, as I was lucky enough to make the trip to New Zealand to the Schick family's Windsor Park Stud.

Situated just outside Cambridge, I was there for three weeks from mid-November to early December. It is, of course, well-known in Europe as the birthplace of the mighty So You Think as well as Charm Spirit’s southern hemisphere base.

I was able to get involved in all aspects of the farm including foaling, yearlings, the covering shed and mares and foals. With it being such a busy period, I was able to get immersed into life there and learnt a lot in such a short space of time.

In some ways, it certainly felt a little like home thanks to the abundant green fields. On the other hand, there were plenty of differences and foaling outside at 2am in shorts and t-shirt was certainly a break away from what I have grown up with. 

As well as the farm, I was able to get up to Karaka for the Ready to Run sale at NZB. A good sale that consistently produces top horses, it was eye-opening to see really how much of an export market that New Zealand is and the importance the Asian market is to the industry there.

Breeze-ups are a little different there and unfortunately I wasn’t present for any of the breezes, which were held around five weeks prior to the actual sale, but it was interesting to see Windsor Park’s draft of 11 being prepped like yearlings rather than breezers in the run-up to the sale.

To date, we have had some great experiences. As we all split up to return to our home countries around the world, we’re all very much looking forward to the many more opportunities yet to come as we head to Dubai in the New Year, but none of this would be possible without the support of Godolphin and the generosity of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to whom we are all very grateful.

Download our special 16-page guide to the new US sires for 2018, headed by Arrogate, Classic Empire and Gun Runner

It was good to see Highland Reel bow out on a high with a seventh victory at the top level
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