From the islands of Bass Strait to North Queensland to Western Australia and hundreds of locations in between, the nominations rolled in for the 2023 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards. With more than $100,000 in cash prizes and priceless recognition of a massive, largely unseen workforce on offer in seven categories, the eighth staging of the Awards is shaping as the biggest yet.
With nominations opening in December, more than 200 entries were received for the Awards supported globally by Godolphin and staged in Australia by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia along with an array of sponsors.
Emphasising the depth and breadth of the Australian racing industry, and the reach of the Awards, entries have been received for the first time from King Island where the racing industry was in a state of limbo last year. But the passion that saved King Island racing in the wake of the Covid pandemic and only a small pool of horses and trainers is reflected in the community response to the Awards. The King Island nominations are part of a larger entry from Tasmania where workers from behind the scenes in racing stables, studs and administration have been put forward by fellow workers and colleagues.
Some of the country’s biggest racing and breeding operations have again produced their lists of SSSA candidates, with the Waterhouse-Bott and Maher-Eustace stables, supplying a list of candidates. The Hayes family operation at Lindsay Park is again represented in the SSSA nominations, as is Yulong, while the training team of Tony and Calvin McEvoy have continued their support with more nominations.
From Victoria, entries have been received from staff at the Ballarat stable of trainer Matthew Cumani with fellow trainers Philip Stokes and David Jolly also providing new candidates. Nominations from various sections of the industry in Western Australia make up that state’s largest ever representation while Queensland studs and stables have again come up with the typically strong list of candidates.
One entry that captures the spirit of the SSSA has come from the 2022 Thoroughbred Care and Welfare winner Fiona McIntyre who has nominated another superb candidate in the same category this year. “Care and Welfare covers a section of the industry that has become vital to promoting racing to a wider audience and encouraging its acceptance in the community,” McIntyre said. “Those of us who do this sort of work do it because we love horses. These Awards demonstrate that there are people out there who recognise us and truly appreciate what we do.”
The Stud and Stable Staff Awards offer cash prizes of $10,000 to the winners in each of the categories of Dedication to Racing, Dedication to Breeding, Horsemanship, Leadership, Thoroughbred Care and Welfare and Administration. The Newcomer Award offers a cash prize of $5000, with the runners-up in each of the seven categories receiving $3000.
A Thoroughbred Excellence Award of an additional $5000 will be made to a nominee chosen from the winners of the various stud and stable awards.
The Australian SSSA are sponsored by the Victoria Racing Club, William Inglis and Son, Magic Millions, the Australian Turf Club, the Melbourne Racing Club Foundation, Racing Queensland, Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Marcus Oldham College.
Furthermore, without the tireless support of the Awards media partners, the SSSA message and call for nominations would not be feasible. Special thanks should be made to ANZ Bloodstock news, Thoroughbred Daily News Australia and New Zealand, Sky racing and Racing.com.
The 2023 SSSA shortlist will be announced on Wednesday, 15 March with the finalists then being selected and announced on Friday, 31 March.
The winners will be announced at the annual SSSA Awards ceremony hosted by the Gold Coast Turf Club on Wednesday, 24 May.