Nominations open for Stud and Stable Staff Awards

24 February 2022 Written by VRC

A spectacle like last Saturday's $1 million Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) is over in 56 seconds and, while racing fans can savour the finished product, it is the result of dedication and hard work from hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the previous decade.

The stud staff who looked after the mare during the conception process, right through until she foals down.

The farm employees who care for a horse from the moment they are foaled until they enter the sales ring.

Those involved in the early education of a horse.

The stable staff who dedicate their lives to the wellbeing of their beloved horses.

The trackwork riders who assist in getting thoroughbreds to peak fitness.

The administrative workers who are involved in every facet of the industry.

Those who manage logistics to ensure that everything proceeds like clockwork.

And it doesn't end once a racing career is over, either, with plenty of amazing horse lovers dedicated to thoroughbred aftercare, welfare and wellbeing.

They may not be the ones basking in the glory after a race is run and won, but each and every one of them is a significant factor in the continuing success of the racing industry.

The Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards, supported by Godolphin, provide a platform to recognise those unsung heroes who have dedicated their life to the thoroughbred.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is a proud supporter of the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards and is honoured to sponsor the Leadership Award, which is given to a staff member in a managerial or supervisory role who displays quality people management, mentoring and support of staff, attention to workplace health and safety, commitment to continuous improvement and demonstrates good business acumen.

The Leadership Award is one of seven categories, along with Horsemanship, Dedication To Racing, Dedication To Breeding, Administration And Ancillary, Thoroughbred Care And Welfare and Newcomer.

From those seven winners, an overall Excellence Award winner is named, recognising exceptional contribution to the racing industry.

Since the Stud and Stable Staff Awards were established in 2015, two of Flemington's longest-serving and familiar faces - Malua Racing's Joe Agresta (2018) and Lindsay Park's Gary Fennessy (2021) - have taken the prestigious Excellence Award.

They both also picked up the Dedication To Racing Award, which was also awarded to Anthony and Sam Freedman's Flemington foreman Steve Adams in 2019.

In addition, the VRC's very own Mick Hurry - whose four-decade career at Flemington has seen him undertake roles from stablehand to trackwork rider to barrier attendant to clerk of the scales to his current position as training track supervisor - was recognised with the Dedication To Racing Award in 2020.

"It was a great privilege to be nominated for the award and quite humbling to make it through to the finalist stage, let alone winning it," Hurry said.

"I saw myself as a representative for all Flemington track supervisors and also for those everywhere who work in the same job as me. To be recognised for that role is a great honour and I still can't quite believe it."

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich emphasised the club’s long-standing support of the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

“We are proud to be able to support the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards, especially through our sponsorship of the Leadership Award,” Mr Rosich said. “These awards recognise people who work tirelessly all year round, in the dark of night and in the depths of winter, to ensure that our industry continues to not just function but flourish.

“There are many people at Flemington who deserve recognition, both among those who work for the Victoria Racing Club as well as among the many stables based at Flemington. It has been great to see people like Joe Agresta, Gary Fennessy, Steve Adams and Mick Hurry recognised in the seven years that the awards have been up and running and I am certain there will be more Flemington representation in 2022.

“Anyone can be nominated by anyone, so I encourage everyone at or associated with Flemington to put forward a nomination.”

Nominations will close on Tuesday 15 March. To nominate, click here.