Before I headed off on my journey I was very lucky to be apart of Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan’s last yearling draft and what a success that was, great results and a awesome farewell ceremony. A couple days later and I had started the long 36-hour trip to Newmarket where I was transported on a buggy from one terminal to another in New York to get my connecting flight on time.
My first day at Cheveley I was very nervous but excited at the same time and was placed on Sandwich Stud, the yearling division of the farm. Daily routines were turning out yearlings in their mobs, as this is the very start of the education process before they go into prep in June/July. We would do that every morning and bring them in during the afternoon, which resulted in plenty of straw boxes to muck out. It was a privilege to work with some extremely well bred yearlings and it took me a while to narrow them down too get a favourite so I had two. A Dansili x Starscope colt and a Dutch Art x Ardent filly, fingers crossed they’ll be future champions! There was a lot of diversity between the staff, with the nationalities of Cuba, Jordan, Canada and of course Australia and Ireland all represented. An awesome group of people to work with that have made the transition into Newmarket very easy.
Something I haven’t yet got used to is the weather, wearing a thermal under my uniform, gloves and a beanie are all part of it and I’m still cold at times. Last week we had snow up to our knees, which can make the farm look very pretty and a lot of fun with a few snowball fights, but after a couple of days of continuous snow it makes the work job twice as hard.
After 4 weeks at Sandwich Stud I moved over to Main Cheveley Stud where there is a broodmare division and the Stallion unit. Every day here is different to what I am used to - the mares come in every night to a stable full of straw for bedding that is under full surveillance with most of the boxes having cameras that makes checking the mares very easy. Ive been able to follow the vet run a couple of mornings with head vet Andrew McGladdery which has been a great way to see how the whole farm operates and the techniques used for mares at different stages of there breeding. There’s always top quality banter to get you through the cold and rainy days and apart from being called an Aussie there’s not too much I cant handle, and love throwing it back there way, just mentioning rugby puts them quiet for a short time.
During the passed 5 weeks I’ve tried to see as much of Newmarket as possible, being the hub for thoroughbred racing and breeding you can count on everyone in the town having an interest for the industry. During the first week that I was in town a string of about 15 horses coming back from track work at the ‘heath’ were trotting down the main street of the town, I couldn’t believe it, all the traffic stopped and acted like it was normal. An early eye opener to what Newmarket is all about. I’ve been lucky enough to have tours of the England National Stud, Juddmonte farm and Godolphin’s Dalham Stud. A few highlights from those farms were seeing ‘Spill the beans’ who shuttles from Aquis Farm in Australia. Also seeing ‘Frankel’ in the flesh was amazing, I’ve never seen such an imposing and breath-taking horse in my life, and looking forward to seeing some of his progeny racing throughout the year on my travels. Only last week I spent half the day at Dalham Stud where I could have been driving around all day and still find new areas of the farm, the attention to detail and the highest classed facilities with the latest technology was like no stud I’ve ever seen before. Was able to see a few stallions including the champion ‘Dubawi’ and one my favourites from home, ‘Iffraj’.
With only 3 weeks left here at Cheveley Park Stud before my next placement with GOFFS UK for a couple of weeks before heading to Coolmore Ireland I’m eager to continue learning the different methods and creating some great relationships with staff. - David Morris