Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out in the industry? What is it exactly that you do?
I’ve always had a love for horses, thoroughbred in particular, since as long as I can remember. My father raced a couple of gallopers in country Victoria in the late 80’s early 90’s so I guess it was in this period that I established a passion for them. Whilst I completed my VCE, the ambition was to pursue a career in the thoroughbred racing & breeding industry.
The NCEE course was a great platform for this and I spent the best part of two years learning the basics of horse handling, reproductive procedures and gaining valuable hands on experience at leading Victorian studs such as Blue Gum Farm & Eliza Park.
In 2004, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position of Marketing & Stallion Nominations manager at the historic Widden Stud in the NSW Hunter Valley. It is this position I still hold today however now I am now based in Victoria increasing our client base interstate.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Every day of the working week. Saturday’s are generally spent at the races. With the amount of runner’s the stud has bred or that are representing our stallions we have to keep abreast of all results for any press releases and advertising we may have to run the following day/week.
Widden stand 10 stallions in 2012 including STRATUM, SEBRING, NORTHERN METEOR, STAR WITNESS, NICCONI, SNIPPETSON & TICKETS.
In this field of work, is it possible for someone to be a full time professional, earning a livable income?
Absolutely. For example my role is full time, but other similar roles such as Bloodstock Advisor/Agent, Commercial breeder etc are also established full time jobs that many people earn a living out of.
Remember, this is a billion dollar a year industry that employs over 50,000 people.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
See above for my own personal steps but certainly some hands on experience with a couple of studs or even 12-18 months doing the sales with a trainer or Agent will hold someone in reasonably good stead to find similar employment. It is also important to have a strong grasp of pedigrees and bloodlines establishing a fundamental knowledge of the various stallions in Australia and abroad.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this line of work?
Certainly don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can and seek out advice – listen, listen & listen. Don’t hesitate to ask a trainer or an agent if you can come along to a sale with them or do some time at a leading trainer’s stable. Both auction houses in Australia WILLIAM INGLIS & MAGIC MILLIONS are active employers of young talent coming through the ranks and certainly seeking advice off them would be worthwhile.
Is there anything else with horses you’d love to learn about or try?
I’ve never been much of a horse rider so that is one thing I would like to try to do one day. Naturally I still have a lot to learn about horses in general, a lot of people say ‘You never stop learning about horses’ and I believe that is very true.
Favourite horse memory?
Probably a couple. I was a fan of the Champion racehorse MIGHT AND POWER and was lucky enough to see him on track to win the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. More recently our Golden Slipper winning stallion STRATUM is a horse that was a big stallion deal, recently completed not long after I arrived at Widden, so it was a real thrill to be at Rosehill to see him sire a Golden Slipper winner (CRYSTAL LILY) himself from just his first crop of runners.
Not really into goals but at this stage I am very happy with what I am doing. Perhaps at some stage I would like to do something overseas in a similar role to see how things may be done differently. I have been lucky to see studs in Kentucky, France & England and it really opens your eyes to the possibilities out there.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
Very easy – you get to earn a living by doing something that is essentially your hobby & passion.
‘You can tell a gelding, you can ask a mare, but you must discuss it with a stallion.’