Godolphin award a career boost for new trainer

Mark Newnham (left) and Henry Plumptre.

Author Mike Hedge, date 2nd August 2016


Mark Newnham is the inaugural winner of the ‘Thoroughbred Excellence Award’ at the Godolphin Australian Stud and Stable Awards.

A former jockey whose involvement in racing spans more than 20 years, Mark also won the ‘Dedication To Racing’ section of the Awards for which he was nominated by Gai Waterhouse, to whom he was assistant trainer.

Mark became a trainer in his own right after winning his award in 2015 and credits it with giving him a platform from which to launch his new career. He says the Awards, which are overseen by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia, offer respect and acknowledgement to the thousands of behind-the-scenes stud and stable employees who keep the industry running.

“There’s a lot that goes into every horse winning any race. We always hear about the best horses winning the best races and you sometimes hear about the people behind the scenes when it comes to those horses,” Newnham says.

“But just as much effort goes into a horse who wins a maiden, and the time and effort that goes into those horses comes from people who mostly go unnoticed by the wider racing community. They are largely unheard and unseen. It’s the day-to-day dedication of the stable staff that generates results the whole year round.”

“So, to acknowledge the existence of all of those people and to recognise the value of what they do, is a fantastic boost. To make everyone in the industry feel like they are an important part of it is something that cannot be underestimated.”

“To win this award is one of the highlights of my life in racing and for many others who get up early and work in the dark and cold every morning, it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened.”

“Personally, winning the Award provided a platform for me to start training. It helped me raise my profile and the prize money that came with it improved my financial position which was really important at a time when I was starting a new business.”

“In our stable the Awards were spoken about a lot. In Gai’s office we spoke about who we could nominate, she was right behind it from the start. She got really enthusiastic about it. And I know Chris Waller was right behind it. For the smaller stables I can see it being even more valuable and more popular.”

“I really think there will be a lot more awareness next season, it can only grow, it will get bigger and better every year.”

Waterhouse, Sydney’s six-time champion trainer, declared the Godolphin Stud and Stable Awards an outstanding initiative. “The work of people in racing stables and on stud farms can never be underestimated, without them the industry couldn’t function,” Waterhouse said.

“For them to be recognised by these awards gives a great lift to morale. My stable is right behind them.”

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