Gary Fennessy named winner of the Thoroughbred Excellence Award

26 May 2021


A half-century of devotion to the thoroughbred industry, and to one family, has earned Gary Fennessy of Lindsay Park the supreme accolade in the 2021 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA).

Fennessy was named the winner of the SSSA’s Thoroughbred Excellence Award at a ceremony on the Gold Coast tonight (26 May) that honours the often unknown and unrecognised workforce that keeps the racing and breeding world turning.

An assistant trainer with the Lindsay Park team in Melbourne, Fennessy received top votes in the Dedication to Racing category of the Awards and was also named the winner of the overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award.

Joining Fennessy on the winners’ list at the seventh staging of the SSSA was David Hanratty from Yarradale Stud in Western Australia who took out the Leadership Award and former star Queensland apprentice Mandy Radecker who overcame severe injuries that ended her riding career but could not stop her from continuing to work with thoroughbreds, Radecker was named winner of the Horsemanship Award.

In the Dedication to Breeding category, Steve Brien, the former stud manager at Twin Hills Stud in NSW, was rewarded for dedicating his working life to the business he loves; in the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare category Victoria’s Jade Willis received recognition for rehoming and retraining hundreds of thoroughbreds; and in the Administration and Ancillary Services section, Cassandra Simmonds of Magic Millions, renowned as the best “can do” problem solver in the business, received well-deserved recognition.

While so many of those nominated have given decades to the industry, the SSSA also recognises those who are just starting out. In that category, Jack Cripps, who works for trainers Tony and Calvin McEvoy in Melbourne came out on top in the Newcomers Award.

For Fennessy, known throughout the industry as “Bim”, the Dedication to Racing and the Thoroughbred Excellence Awards are recognition not only of his 54 years of devotion to one employer, but to his value to the team he works with and to the industry.

After beginning his working life with Lindsay Park’s founder Colin Hayes in Melbourne in 1967, Fennessy is now working with a third generation of the Hayes family as assistant trainer at Flemington.

The significance of Fennessy’s success in the Awards can be measured by the quality of the nominees against whom he was judged, in particular, the runner-up John Brady.

A strapper, stablehand, exercise rider and just about everything else there is in a racing stable, Brady, 84, started working for the legendary Tommy Smith before Tulloch Lodge was Tulloch Lodge.

And after almost 70 years, he remains an employee of Smith’s daughter Gai Waterhouse and her training partner Adrian Bott.

Fennessy receives a cash prize of $10,000 in the Dedication to Racing section and a further $5,000 as winner of the Thoroughbred Excellence Award.

Each of the winners, except for the Newcomer, win $10,000 and a trophy, with each runner-up receiving $3000. The Newcomer Award carries a $5,000 prize plus an educational experience in Dubai (Covid permitting).

The SSSA are staged by Racing Australia and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia with sponsorship from the Melbourne Racing Club Foundation, Inglis, Magic Millions and the ATC and are supported by Godolphin.


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