Flying Start files: trainees land in Australia

Conrad (centre) gets his hands on the Melbourne Cup trophy

PICTURE: Conrad Bandoroff Flying Start files: trainees land in Australia

Second-year trainee Conrad Bandoroff sends a dispatch from down under for the Godolphin Flying Start course

AS YEAR two of the Godolphin Flying Start commences, we have hit the ground running in Australia following a fantastic six months in America. For many in the group, this is their first time to the land down under, while for others, they are coming home or are being reunited with where they first discovered their passion for horses and this great industry.

As for me, this phase sees my return to Australia after spending eight months studying abroad and gaining work experience here.

Safe to say, it is good to be back and we are all looking forward to this Aussie adventure.

Our first week here we were fortunate to experience and lend a hand in putting on the Darley Stallion Parade at the beautiful Kelvinside Stud in the Hunter Valley-similar in size and scale as the Darley open house at Dalham Hall in Britain. There was palpable excitement around the stallion stations as the southern hemisphere breeding season was about to begin on August 1.

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The following week, the team packed their bags and drove to Sydney for our leadership module at the University of Sydney, as well as some visits and our first taste of racing in Australia.

We had three enlightening days learning about our own leadership traits and styles. The team at the university came up with innovative and practical ways to apply management skills needed in the workplace.

During our time in Sydney, we had the opportunity to attend morning training with The Lady Trainer, Gai Waterhouse, and Adrian Bott.

Not only did she share her thoughts and philosophies about training, but she also gave us life-long counsel in self-awareness.

Gai's vivaciousness and enthusiasm spilled over with every word, which left my colleagues and I enthralled. The passion that she exudes for her trade is equally reflected in both her staff and her horses.

It was great to meet Adrian and hear about his Journey from Godolphin Flying Start to his training partnership with Gai.

Over the weekend, we got our first taste of Australian racing as a team at Rosehill Gardens.

Not only was it an incredibly enjoyable day for us, where we got to compare Australian racing to our European and North American experiences, but we also got to see some memorable performances from promising horses such as Evacuation (More Than Ready-Scattered) trained by Gai and Adrian and Astern (Medaglia D'Oro-Essaouira) representing the Godolphin colours and John O'Shea.

The strength of racing in Australia was highlighted by competitive and full fields, as well as the best prize-money outside of Japan and Hong Kong. Before the first race on the card, we got to meet with reigning champion trainer Chris Waller. Chris, like many in this industry, is a true testament that with hard work, dedication, and a reverence for the horse, success will follow suit.

We have only been in Australia for a short while and it has already surpassed expectations. We are all looking forward to seeing what the rest of our time here holds in store, under the guidance of our Godolphin Flying Start co-ordinator Belinda Miller and the Godolphin management team.

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