Finalists – Newcomer Award

17 May, 2021


A combination of enthusiasm, endeavour and selfless compassion stands out in the nominations of Fiona Bayly and Jack Cripps for the Newcomer category of the Stud and Stable Staff awards.

Both Fiona and Jack are employed by leading Victorian racing stables and both have made outstanding starts to what they see as long-term careers.

Fiona joined the stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in 2018 as a stablehand, joining her mother who also worked for the same trainers.

She quickly progressed to working with the horses, learning the basics of everything from saddling to swimming and raceday strapping.

Ciaron Maher Racing chief executive Andy Wiles describes Fiona’s progression in the organisation as a source of satisfaction for all who have been involved with her.

“Fiona is hard-working, diligent, conscientious, productive, committed and incredibly proud of her role in the stable’s success,” Wiles said.

As well as seizing every opportunity within the stable to learn and progress, Fiona did a three-month stint of mustering on a cattle station in North Queensland in 2020 to further her horse skills and understanding.

On her return she accepted an offer to become an assistant foreman at the Ballarat stable of Maher and Eustace and has since undertaken a Certificate IV course in racing with a view to becoming an assistant trainer.

Leading trainer Tony McEvoy describes his Newcomer nomination Jack Cripps as an asset every stable would love to have.

“Jack’s development in the thoroughbred industry is staggering,” McEvoy said.

Jack had no involvement in racing until he responded two years ago to an advertisement for the Thoroughbred Industry Careers (TIC) Explorer Cadetship Program.

The program involved a 12-week boot camp at Western Sydney University, a stint at Godolphin’s Northwood Park stud in Victoria and another with McEvoy Mitchell Racing, after which he stayed on as a full-time stablehand.

He is now working in the stable’s Sales and Syndication office.

While Jack’s work ethic and desire to learn sets him apart, his character has also impressed McEvoy.

“Such was Jack’s care for others that when Covid-19 hit hard in Melbourne, he took a redundancy and went home to Western Australia to ensure one of the Melbourne team with a family, could be kept on,” mcEvoy said.

While at home in WA that Jack came up with a plan to help build the stable’s owner base through selling minor shares in horses.

Jack returned to Melbourne in August 2020 and has since introduced 190 new people to the stable client base.

“At McEvoy Mitchell Racing, we believe Jack’s efforts have been outstanding. He is a charismatic and friendly young man with an excellent work ethic and that is why we were delighted to nominate him for the SSSA Newcomer Award.”

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