THE 2022 Godolphin Flying Start graduation ceremony took place in the beautiful Cape Cross centre at Kildangan Stud in Ireland on the afternoon of Friday, June 24th.

Godolphin Flying Start Executive Director Clodagh Kavanagh warmly welcomed guests and trainees’ families from as far away as the USA and Australia. She spoke about the inspiration for the programme from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the impact of the experience on the trainee’s personal and professional lives. Clodagh paid tribute to the support received from programme coordinators and the Irish and USA thoroughbred industries, especially in early 2021, when the impact of COVID-19 was at its highest.

Invited guests included the parents of the graduating class, Godolphin management, University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Business School representatives and Godolphin Flying Start Trustees who have supported the Flying Start trainees throughout their two years on the programme.

Godolphin Flying Start is accredited by the University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Business School as a Graduate Certificate in Management. Helen Brophy, Director of Smurfit Executive Development at UCD, addressed the assembled guests and emphasised the academic oversight of UCD and the programme graduates.

Joe Osborne, Managing Director of Godolphin Ireland and Trustee of Godolphin Flying Start, was highly complementary of the class of 2022 and added; “On behalf of the global Godolphin team, I congratulate this graduating class and wish them success and encouragement for their futures in the thoroughbred industry.”

Challenging circumstances

It was the role of 2005 graduate and Godolphin Flying Start Trustee, Lisa-Jane Graffard, to present the 11 trainees with their Godolphin Flying Start Diplomas, and she congratulated them on their achievements given the challenging circumstances of the pandemic. She welcomed them to join the alumni network and to become active contributors and leaders.

The 2022 graduates comprised trainees from five countries, including Angus Robertson (Australia), Samantha Bussanich (USA), Devon Dougherty (USA), Erin McLaughlin (USA), Tommy Lyon Smith (UK), Brigitte Murphy (Ireland), Donncha McCarthy (Ireland), David Skelly (Ireland), Marine Moussa (France) and Solene Hudbert (France).

The diploma for the top trainee was presented to George Broughton (UK), who achieved the highest grade among the 2022 graduating group, attaining a Distinction award.

Angus Robertson and Samantha Bussanich spoke on behalf of the class, reflecting on the experience of the two years with their fellow classmates.

“We have had the most unorthodox experience in the 19-year history of the programme, yet it is one that we would not exchange. At a time when people’s lives were sent into turmoil through lockdowns, social distancing, and furlough, we were 11 fortunate individuals who still managed to travel, gain incredible practical and theoretical experience, and develop personally and professionally.

“This was due to the resilience of the thoroughbred industry, the fortitude of the Godolphin Flying Start management team, and the generosity of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.”

The next opportunity to apply for Godolphin Flying Start is December 2022, and for more information about the course, please visit: