ONCE we completed our six months Australian phase, we came back to Europe in early February, and we have not had the time to miss Australia (except the weather) with a fairly busy schedule.
After a fortnight spent in Kildangan Stud working on our business plan – which will be our final project to submit in order to be graduated from the Godolphin Flying Start – we flew over to England for an intense two-week study tour.
Starting in Newmarket, we have been privileged to meet so many people and visit so many different places. Many trainers received us such as Roger Varian, Sir Mark Prescott, William Haggas, Amy Murphy; as well as the main stud farms of the area, Cheveley Park Stud, Shadwell, Juddmonte.
We have also been lucky to discover different sections of the industry, such as Weatherbys, the Jockey Club Estates and Rooms, the Racing School of Newmarket, the International Racing Bureau etc.
After 10 busy but really enjoyable days in Newmarket, we headed to Lambourn, which was a first time in the history of the Godolphin Flying Start. Indeed, we are the first group of trainees to get a study tour there, and we had no regrets.
The local trainers welcomed us as well as we were welcomed in Newmarket, starting with Clive Cox and Andrew Balding. We had a great tour of Lambourn training facilities with Will Riggall who is in charge of the training centre, and we also visited the facilities of Malcolm Bastard’s breaking and pre-training centre, as well as Overbury Stud. Finally, we were lucky to meet the team of Highclere Racing Syndicate.
For our final day in England, we stopped at Newbury Park for a tour of the track followed by an afternoon at the races. For some of us, it was the first-time attending jump races!
We then took the plane back to Ireland that weekend and we are now split into different locations. On my side, I started an externship with J.P. Murtagh on the Curragh three weeks ago. As my plan is to become a trainer myself, gaining experience alongside such an incredible horseman and successful jockey, and now trainer, is invaluable.
My days are filled out with diverse tasks such as riding out, helping with any horse care and treatments, watching gallops with Johnny, taking videos and photos for the owners and any other yard duties.
It is a place where you can never be bored, especially at this time of the season, with the first grass gallops of the year, the two-year-olds getting their first pieces of work, the flat season just started and all the dreams of having a horse to win the classics are still alive.
Since the season started last week, I have already been busy going to the races at the Curragh, where I was very lucky to lead Raadobarg for his win in the Irish Lincolnshire which was an amazing start to the season.
I also went racing in Naas and Navan, and we will have a busy weekend ahead of us with racing in Dundalk, Leopardstown and Cork.
I now have only a couple of weeks left at J.P. Murtagh’s before being reunited with the whole group of trainees for the last time. We will spend about two months in Ireland, mainly working on our business plan and doing some visits around Ireland.
We will then complete a final externship before our graduation. It is hard to believe that it has already been two years since we all arrived in Ireland and met for the first time.
Now it is time to start thinking about the new chapter of our lives and our entrance into the ‘real world’, where hopefully we will all succeed in our different careers’ goals.