Finalists – Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award 2016
Author Mike Hedge, November 17, 2016
It is an unfortunate fact of racing life that not all horses can keep up.
But thanks to people like Lee Purchase and Nikki Cook, those thoroughbreds who can’t make the grade don’t get left behind.
Lee and Nikki are the finalists in the Care and Passion category of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, and both women are devoted to creating new lives and finding new homes for ex-racehorses.
Between them they have rehomed or retrained hundreds of horses, and they’ve done so without external funding and without being asked to.
For both Purchase and Cook, the Godolphin-sponsored awards offer recognition ahead of any reward, not only for them, but for every worker in an industry where the focus is often dominated by the front-line players.
“The stud and stable staff awards serve an amazing purpose for the little people of racing,” said Lee, who also works full-time as a stable hand for trainer Darren Weir.
“We all pretty much do what we do for the love of it, the love of horses.
“To be nominated is such an honour. I truly haven’t thought about winning an award for what I do, but it would help a lot in getting recognition for these horses that need homes.”
As well as finding homes for her horses, Nikki retrains them from an 80 acre property on Victoria’s surf coast where she runs her business, Shory Park Horses .
“About 90 per cent go to pony clubs, but we place horses with all kinds of recreational and sporting owners,” she said.
“There aren’t many resources available to us so to win an award would enable us to do more.
“But it would also give us amazing recognition, just knowing that an organisation like Godolphin the has an interest in what we do.”
The GSSSA awards are sponsored by Godolphin and staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia.