Godolphin Stud & Stable Awards

Godolphin Stud & Stable Awards

 by Bernard Kenny

David Merrick of Widden Stud is this year’s recipient of the Thoroughbred Excellence award for the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards due to his ‘unparalleled experience, unique skills and an unquestionable willingness to share these skills.’

David also collected the Dedication to Breeding Award at the GSSSA presentations at Royal Randwick Racecourse attended by breeders Antony Thompson and Peter Orton, MP Michael Johnsen and trainers Tony McEvoy and James Cummings.

“I’ve worked in the industry for 40 years and to achieve some recognition for the work you have put in is a great result,” said David who is Stud Manager of Widden Stud, where he has spent 26 years.

“I’m in absolute shock. There are such incredible people who work in this industry and to get recognition is a real boost. It has been amazing. It’s a great feeling and I encourage everyone to get behind the Awards next year.”

Nominated by Widden General Manager Derek Field, who praised him for his leadership, dedication and “a total involvement in every aspect of the business at any time of the night or day, year-after-year. David has devoted his life to the breeding industry.”

“His passion, time and his selfless attitude of forever giving is something he should be proud of. His one-on-one relationships with our clients are testimony to the regard in which he is held and the utmost trust and respect of all who work with him.”

In 2018 David Merrick received the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ coveted Murray Bain Award that honours “the outstanding achievements of those in our industry who champion exceptional service and hands on practice.”

David Merrick collected the Dedication to Breeding Award ahead of Stephanie Mitchell of Mungrup Stud, while Dedication to Racing went to Steve Adams of Anthony Freedman Racing ahead of Michael Shepherdson of McEvoy Mitchell Racing.

Vinery Stud stalwart David White was awarded the Leadership Award ahead of Godolphin’s Simon Johnson, with the Horsemanship Award going to Warren Sutton of McEvoy Mitchell Racing from Nigel Bentley of Arrowfield Stud.

TBA’s Cecelia O’Gorman received the Administration Award ahead of Susan Willis of Yulong Investments, Lindy Thewlis and Fiona McIntyre finished one, two in Thoroughbred Care and Welfare with The Newcomer to Talia Cranfield of Godolphin ahead of Alyssa Pickels from Kitchwin Hills Stud.

The winners received a trophy and $10,000, with $3,000 to share among fellow workers. Each runner-up received $1,000, aside from The Newcomer Award who received $5,000 plus $3,000 to fellow workers, and an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai. The runner-up received $1,000.

The Thoroughbred Excellence Award winner received a trophy and $5,000 in addition to their prize for winning their category, plus an additional $2,000 to fellow workers.

The GSSSA, sponsored by Godolphin and partners throughout the industry and convened by Racing Australia and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, aims to recognise and reward those who work in all areas of the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.

The GSSSA were devised by Godolphin’s founder Sheikh Mohammed to recognise that stud and stable staff who are the backbone of the horseracing industry.

Godolphin sponsors the GSSSA in five countries in the belief that hard work and dedication of grooms, exercise riders, office workers and foaling crews – the list of unsung heroes within the industry goes on and on – should be celebrated.