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Matt's Blog - March 2011

Pivotal House, Cheveley Park Stud Newmarket, England
Pivotal House, Cheveley Park Stud Newmarket, England

The Sunline International Management Scholarship Begins
19 February 2011 – 10 March 2011

My journey all began in Auckland International airport at 9pm on the 19th of February. I boarded my Air New Zealand flight on the way to London Heathrow via Hong Kong with utter excitement. I had a fantastic first half of the long journey with delicious food and good quality entertainment. I had two hours in transit at Hong Kong airport which I had a much needed walk and stretch before the second half of the flight, Yet again another fantastic flight where I was looked after in first class fashion with more delicious food and plenty of sleep that was much needed.

I arrived in Heathrow airport at 2pm on the Sunday the 20th feeling great with a sufficient amount of sleep and a full stomach. The weather in London was going to take some getting used to as it was only two degrees Celsius outside. Before I knew it I was on the bus final destination, Newmarket. I arrived on the main street of Newmarket (High Street) at 6.30pm to be welcomed by Chris Richardson (Cheveley Park Stud Managing Director) in the freezing cold and pitch black, yet I could feel the history with the old narrow roads and red brick buildings taking over the main street.

Chris navigated me through Newmarket into the village of Cheveley, there we slowly approached a very nice set of Cheveley Park Stud owned apartments named Pivotal Court, where I would call home for my next ten weeks in this remarkable historic town. Chris gave me the grand tour of my fully furnished two bedroom very spacious apartment all to myself, I even had a fresh loaf of bread, tea, milk and bacon I felt very spoilt.

Monday morning has arrived after a very patchy sleep; jetlag got the better of me. I was picked up from outside my flash new apartment block at 7.30am by Cheveley Park Stud Manager, Andrew Snell. The first thing he said to me "It's a bit colder than New Zealand isn't it mate" and I couldn't agree more, twenty minutes out in the chilly weather I start to lose feeling in my finger tips. Andrew and I slowly weaved through the old country roads to finally come to a set of beautiful, big automatic gates witch slowly opened revealing the magnificent Cheveley Park Stud. In we went down the sealed drive way with massive trees that looked hundreds of years old to appear at the main office. In the office I was introduced to Matthew Sigsworth (Management Assistant) where he guided me through my induction which consisted of a ten minute video of workplace health and safety and then a lot of reading and signing to state that I fully understand what is required. I later met the lovely Sharon Harper (Office Manager) who gave me my uniform that consisted of 1x jacket, 2x polo shirts, 2x sweatshirts, 2x hats and my work boots.

Once all the paper work had been completed Matthew and I went for a short tour of half of the outstanding stud farm, even though it was a miserable day it looked amazing I could not wait to put my boots on and get to work. The whole farm is put together by kilometres of sealed road with massive paddocks either side surrounded by post and rail fencing and beautiful old trees that shelter the road.

We appeared outside another set of automatic gates down the road to a place called Sandwich Stud which is the yearling division of Cheveley Park, here I met the yearling manager John Hernon and his team of five staff. This is where work begun, John started off by giving me a tour of Sandwich which consists of three yards, Thatch yard, Middle yard and Top yard and explained what happens on a day to day basis. "We start the day at 7.30am all the yearlings are brushed over then turned out to their specific paddocks, 10.ooam until 10.30am is breakfast time, enough time to warm up with a hot cup of tea and a snack. We are then into mucking out the boxes and bedding down with fresh straw which takes us to lunch time, 1.00pm. At 2.00pm we are back with all the boxes and general clean up done we put all the appropriate dinner in the boxes for the yearlings and bring them in group by group, if there is time at the end of the day there are small bits and bobs that we can find to do, 4.30pm home time".

Tuesday the 22nd of February 6.30am and I just heard about the Christchurch earthquake my heart goes out to all families involved. After I finished making sure all my family was safe I ventured down the road to start my first day at work, shortly after I arrived Andrew Snell came over to find out if I needed to contact home to make sure everything was alright and if I needed anything in my new house. The quality of yearlings I was leading were the likes of Duke of Marmalade, Rock of Gibralter, Oasis Dream, Shamardal, Dalakahni and of course Medicean, Dutch art, the great Pivotal and many more.

I had a very eventful week at Sandwich with the yearlings I was very happy to be asked by John for my top three yearlings on the farm, it was a very difficult task as there were so many but I came to a decision.
1. Chestnut Filly By Dalakhani (IRE) She is a lovely big filly with a strong shoulder and plenty of scope about her. Out of Fantasize (GB) by Groom Dancer, a Listed winner herself and the dam of one winner, Illusion a filly by Anabaa won at 3 years and placed second in two Listed races. Fantasize has an Oasis Dream at foot.
2. Bay Colt By Duke of Marmalade (IRE) He is a very relaxed colt with a lovely attitude and an amazing stride to go with it, big horse with plenty of bone and a very muscular individual. Out of Red Bloom (GB) by Selkirk, with a race record of 19 starts, 6 wins, 2 seconds and 5 thirds winning one Listed race, one Group 3, two Group 2 and one Group 1. The dam of red bloom, Red Camellia is also a Listed and Group 3 winner at 2 years. Red Bloom is currently in foal to Sea The Stars
3. Bay Colt By Pivotal (GB) He is medium sized with a lot of scope, excellent conformation and a very determined walk about him he looks like a good 2 year old. Out of Regina (GB) by Green Desert, won two at 2 and the dam of one winner. Regina has had a Kyllachy foal at foot.

In conclusion of my first blog I would like to inform you that my next blog will be covering some history, foaling, the quality Broodmares and more.

Matthew Scown