THE 2020-2022 Godolphin Flying Start Group has been on a worldwide tour since we rang in the New Year.

In the last four months we have been on both sides of the hemisphere and have travelled to five different countries, including three different study tours in England, Dubai, and America.

April began across the pond in Lexington, Kentucky. As a University of Kentucky Alum, I was beyond thrilled to finally share the horse capital of the world with my fellow trainees.

The bulk of our trip was spent visiting different stud farms across central Kentucky and continuing to expand our network.

Some of our visits included: Lane’s End, Claiborne, Denali, Gainesway, Hallway Feeds, KESMARC, Fasig-Tipton, the Gluck Center, and Spendthrift. With such a wide variety of visits that represented different sectors of the industry, the trainees got a great grasp of the Kentucky industry.

Highest level

We concluded our US study tour with the opening weekend of Keeneland. Keeneland is a great representation of the highest level of American racing as the racing and facility is top class. During the weekend there were several Grade 1 races to enjoy.

The Central Bank Ashland Stakes was won by Nest and the Bluegrass was won by Zandon, two horses that are the likely favourites for the Oaks and Derby this weekend. Despite the fact that will not be able to attend the Derby, it was a phenomenal weekend of racing to attend and to see legitimate Oaks/Derby contenders compete.

We had the unique perspective of being the first Godolphin Flying Start trainees to be in Kentucky during our second year.

Since we are at a pivotal time in our journey of Flying Start, between creating business plans and searching for jobs, an integral part of our US study tour was learning from industry experts about entrepreneurship.

We arrived back in Ireland on April 11th and since then have been immersed in the Irish industry. A good portion of our time has been spent working on our business plans with guidance from Raomal and Rohan Perera from the University College Dublin.

Every year the concluding project for trainees is to create a business plan that can solve a problem within the sport. This process starts in early January, so we have been working vigorously to perfect our proposals.

In a few weeks we will hand in our final project which will be a well thought out 30-page business proposal. The business plan I am creating is focusing on creating a media company to assist with communication between owners and trainers in the United States.

Besides working on our business plans we have been travelling around the country to meet various industry leaders and visit different facilities.

We have been lucky enough to visit some remarkable establishments in Ireland some of which are: Coolmore, Connolly’s Red Mills, Gilltown Stud, Baroda Stud and Jessica Harrington’s.

We have had many lectures with entrepreneurs within the horse industry that have been more than helpful for shaping our business plans.

Tourist activities

As the first nine months of our course were plagued by Covid, our group was not able to attend any race meetings or explore Ireland. Since then, we have attended several race meetings and found typical tourist activities to do like hiking in the Wicklow mountains.

As an American, I am not quite used to jumps racing and have found attending races at the Punchestown Festival quite fascinating.

The team at Punchestown does an excellent job enticing a younger crowd to the races with amenities like food trucks, social hubs, and creating a friendly atmosphere at the track.

For the final portion of the course we will be in Ireland until May 23rd and then we commence our last externship.

Our course concludes with our graduation on June 24th at Kildangan Stud. The last 19 months have been wonderful and I am looking forward to our final eight weeks on the course.

For more information on the programme see