Welcome to the 2020 Stud and Stable Staff Awards

Nominations Open: 8:00am, January 14, 2020

Nominations Close: 12:00am, March 13, 2020



It is the way of the racing world that those at the top of the tree, the horses, the trainers, the jockeys, and if they are lucky, the owners and the breeders, who receive much of the praise and most of the rewards.

While it is only fair that those who risk the most should be properly compensated, there is a vast network behind the scenes who receive little recognition and without whom the racing industry could not function.

Without the strappers, stable hands, exercise riders, breakers, grooms, stud hands, float drivers, office staff, farriers and the growing band of men and women involved in “re-homing” retired racehorses, and so many others, there would be no racing.

It is to recognise all of those who work behind the front line that the Stud and Stable Awards were created, with nominations for 2020 now open.

Inaugurated in Australia in 2015, the Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA), an initiative of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia and supported by Godolphin, offer recognition to everyone in every “backroom”, every stable, stud or office in the Australian thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.

While the awards can’t compensate everyone in every workplace, they recognise them all and hopefully offer some incentive to get out of bed in mid-winter and go to work.

No better example of the inspirational value of the Awards is that of G1 trainer Mark Newnham, the inaugural winner of the overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award.

Mark started off as a 15-year-old strapper with trainer Bob Thomsen, he went on to work as a travelling foreman for Bart Cummings and later played a key role in the success of three Golden Slipper winners as part of the Tulloch Lodge operation of Gai Waterhouse.

Newnham was nominated for the Awards in 2015 as a stable manager for Waterhouse taking out the Dedication to Racing category and the Thoroughbred Excellence Award.

By the time the Award was presented he’d been granted a trainer’s licence and he used the Awards prizemoney he received to help buy one of his first horses.

Newnham is now a trainer on the move, having prepared 16 Stakes winners, including three at G1 level.

“I can honestly say that the lift the Stud and Stable Staff Awards provided me personally and the help they gave my career make them one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Newnham said.

“They were something racing badly needed and they’ve lived up to everything they set out to do.”

The Stud and Stable Staff Awards are judged in seven categories: Dedication to Racing; Dedication to Breeding; Leadership; Horsemanship; Administrative and Ancillary services; Thoroughbred Care and Welfare, and a Newcomers Award.

The Awards provide total prize money in excess of $100,000 spread over the individual categories plus an overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award.

It isn’t necessary for a nomination to come from a boss or someone more senior than the nominee. You can propose someone on the same level as yourself, someone more senior, or more junior, someone from within your own organisation or from another.

Nominations will close at midnight on Friday, 13 March 2020, and can be completed online via the Stud and Stable Staff Awards website at www.studandstablestaffawards.com.au.

The Awards will be presented at the Gold Coast during the Magic Millions Broodmare Sales in May.

Tom Reilly, CEO of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association said: “Over the five years that these Awards have been given, they have shone a light on the areas where they are most needed and most appreciated.”

“In 2019 we had record nominations and I can only encourage everyone in the industry to nominate anyone you know who is eligible for the Awards that are a tribute to their energy, endeavor, passion and resilience.”

“The finalists and award winners, not to mention their employers, get a huge thrill from being involved on the night that it is well worth making the effort of an entry.”

Racing Australia Chairman Greg Nichols said: “The Stud and Stable Staff Awards, now in their sixth year, are a wonderful recognition and reward for the outstanding skills, commitment and contribution by the unsung heroes of our sport to the unparalleled success of Australian horseracing that is enjoyed today.”

“Racing Australia is greatly appreciative of the generous and unstinting commitment by Godolphin in establishing these awards and continuing its support culminating in the Stud and Stable Staff Awards being regarded as a pinnacle achievement for staff within Australian thoroughbred horse racing and breeding.”

“We encourage our vast band of breeders, trainers, owners and racing management to participate by nominating those individuals who represent excellence in their chosen field of expertise.”

For further information please go to studandstablestaffawards.com.au.

For further information please contact:

Mary Capuano
Racing Executive Racing Australia
Level 11, 51 Druitt St | Sydney NSW 2000 | Australia
T: 02 8072 1912 | F: 02 8072 1999 | M: 0402 746 707
Telephone: +61 2 8072 1912
Email: Mary.Capuano@racingaustralia.horse

Tom Reilly
Chief Executive Officer, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia
Telephone: +61 2 9663 8581
Email: tom@tbaus.com

Fran Khan
Public Affairs, Godolphin Australia
Telephone: +61 2 6543 9038
Email: fkhan@godolphin.com

About Racing Australia:

Racing Australia is the peak national body formed by, and representing, the Principal Racing Authorities in each Australian State and Territory.

Amongst other matters, Racing Australia is responsible for administering the Australian Rules of Racing, the integrity of thoroughbred breeding in Australia through the Australian Stud Book, and maintaining the ownership and identity information of thoroughbred racehorses either racing in Australia or for export through the Registrar of Racehorses.”

About Thoroughbred Breeders Australia: Thoroughbred Breeders Australia TBA is the parent company of the six State breeders’ associations and has an associate membership base of more than 4,200 individual breeders and industry participants. TBA is a not-for-profit industry body established for the benefit of the Thoroughbred breeding industry. TBA is comprised of a Board of 14 directors constituted by two representative members from each of the 6 state breeders’ associations and Aushorse Ltd.

TBA takes a leadership role on issues of national and international importance such as quarantine, biosecurity, animal welfare, taxation, immigration and other government and regulatory issues. It represents the interests of breeders in dealing with the Stud Book, The Australian Racing Board and race clubs in addition to other stakeholder organizations.

About Godolphin:

Godolphin was founded in 1992 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Named in honour of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three founding stallions of the modern thoroughbred born in the Arabian Gulf, what started with a handful of horses in the desert has evolved into the foremost international horseracing stable.

Racing in the famous Royal Blue silks, Godolphin strives for excellence, winning many of the world’s major races along the way. To date, Godolphin has won 315 Group One races in 12 different countries, across four continents. For further information, please visit: www.godolphin.com.

 Members of the Judging Panel:

  • Johan Petzer (Chair), Chief of Stewards TRSA (SA)
  • Basil Nolan, President of TBA and stud owner (QLD)
  • Melissa Weatherly, (QLD)
  • Caroline Searcy, Searcy Media (NSW)
  • Chris Watson, Director TBA and stud owner (SA)
  • Troy Corstens, Thoroughbred trainer (VIC)
  • Peter Heagney, (VIC)
  • Jenny Watson, 2016 Thoroughbred Excellence Winner (TAS)
  • Jeremy Rogers, 2017 Thoroughbred Excellence Award Winner (VIC)
  • Joe Agresta, 2018 Thoroughbred Excellence Award Winner (VIC)
  • David Merrick, 2019 Thoroughbred Excellence Winner (NSW)

Categories of Awards and Prize money:

  1. Leadership Award (Stud or Stable)

An award to an individual staff member in a managerial or supervisory role in a stud or stable who has displayed leadership qualities – in particular in terms of quality people management, mentoring and support of staff, attention to workplace health and safety, commitment to continuous improvement and displaying good business acumen.

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Horsemanship Award (Stud or Stable)

An award to an individual staff member who has shown talent for horsemanship, consistency and reliability in or out of the saddle. Must include an affinity with horses and gives a priority to animal welfare. Must demonstrate a degree of success with the thoroughbred, whether it be in breeding or racing or both, that has been borne out of their particular skill set.

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Dedication to Breeding Award

An award to an individual staff member who has shown talent in thoroughbred breeding horsemanship, consistency and reliability in a stud role. Must have at least five years service in the breeding industry and must have been pivotal in his or her employer’s success.

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Dedication to Racing Award

An award to an individual staff member who has shown talent for horsemanship in the racing field, consistency and reliability in racing role. Must have at least five years service in the racing industry and must have been pivotal in his or her employer’s success.

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Administrative and Ancillary Services Award

An award to an individual who works in any administrative or other support service role within the thoroughbred racing and breeding sectors. This includes, but is not limited to, administration/corporate roles, sales positions, auctioneers, gardeners, veterinary practices, farriers, barrier attendants, horse transport, grounds staff in sales companies, breeding farms or racecourses, horse dentists and physiotherapists.

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award

An award to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the care and welfare of thoroughbreds who are not actively racing, and/or created a greater awareness, passion and care for the thoroughbred horse in its second/ alternate career (breeding, breaking, pre and post racing career, re-homing, retraining, providing a comfortable retirement etc.). These may be, for example, a quite achiever/paid or volunteer in retraining or re-homing of the thoroughbred. (This winner will not be eligible for the Thoroughbred Excellence Award).

Prize: Trophy and $10,000 to winner with $3,000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1,000 to the runner-up.

  1. Newcomer Award (Stud or Stable)

An award to an individual who has worked in the industry, in any capacity, for less than three years. Winner will display passion for, pride in and an excellent contribution to, the thoroughbred industry. The winner will stand out from other newcomers and will be identified as a future and significant valuable member of this industry. (This winner will not be eligible for the Thoroughbred Excellence Award)

Prize: Trophy, $5,000 to winner with $3000 to employer to share amongst staff. $1000 to the runner-up.

  1. Thoroughbred Excellence Award – Overall Award (Stud or Stable)

Winner to be selected from one of the five categories (i.e. excludes Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award and Newcomer Award). Must have made a significant, exceptional contribution to the industry.

Prize: Trophy and an additional $5,000 to the winner with an additional $2,000 to the winner’s yard/stud to be divided amongst stable/stud employees.


Be sure to get involved in this year’s Stud and Stable Staff Awards – if you know of someone who goes above and beyond their role and you think deserves recognition, nominate them now!