Finalists – Dedication to Racing Award 2016

Author Mike Hedge, November 28, 2016


The relationship between trainer and foreperson is among the closest and most important in racing. Among other things, it is a partnership that requires the utmost trust and devotion, qualities clearly possessed by the finalists in the Dedication to Racing category of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Hayley Nichols, the forewoman to Brisbane trainer Kelly Schweida, and Mark Burling, foreman to Marc Conners at Warwick Farm in Sydney, are both employed by trainers who value their work and appreciate the extra effort they put in.

Schweida lists “extreme dedication and single-minded focus” among a long list of attributes displayed by Hayley. “Hayley is the first line of care for all our horses – she could have been nominated for almost every category of the awards,” Schweida said.

To Hayley, the nomination came as a surprise, but one she welcomes wholeheartedly.

“Being a foreman or a strapper means that you do your work day-after-day and don’t always expect much recognition outside your own stable,” Hayley says.

“But these awards mean we are finally recognised, people will know about us and what we do. I take my hat off to Godolphin for acknowledging all the people who work so hard behind the scenes, it shows that they really care.”

Mark Burling is one of those people in racing who started at the bottom as a strapper and is now foreman in a city stable. And according to his boss, his career path is still on an upward trajectory.

“As a strapper Mark always took the time and showed the pride to make his horses stand out. Whatever happens, he always has it covered,” Conners said.

Mark’s reaction to his Award nomination was to thank all those who had helped him in his 18 years in racing.

“I can’t really say how happy I am for all the people who given me a hand along the way. I feel that being a finalist is a ‘thank you’ to them.”

“I also have to thank Godolphin who have sponsored the Awards and who have looked further than their own business to recognise all of us who work in racing.”

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