Meet the Team


Clodagh Kavanagh

Clodagh Kavanagh

Executive Director

LinkedIn
ckavanagh@godolphinflyingstart.com

Clodagh Kavanagh became Godolphin International Thoroughbred Leadership Programme Executive Director in 2003. Motivated by HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision of creating a management training programme to recruit and develop the “Future Leaders of the Thoroughbred Industry”, Clodagh’s role centres around maintaining the standard and relevance of the syllabus as well as coaching and mentoring the trainees. She manages the recruitment and marketing of the programme and guides a team of coordinators who implement the program locally.

Previously General Manager of the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) in Kildare, Clodagh also worked as a part-time Racing Official with the Irish Turf Club.

Clodagh has worked in Kentucky, New Zealand, Hunter Valley, Melbourne, Sydney and Kildare for some of the leaders in the thoroughbred industry including Eaton-Williams consignors, Segenhoe Stud, Colin Hayes, Ballysheehan, Moyglare, Airlie and Derrinstown Studs.

She is a graduate of University College Dublin, obtaining a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree and MSc in Business (Leadership and Management). Clodagh is a Step II MBTI Practitioner. In 2021 Clodagh was appointed as a board member of the Irish National Stud.

Martin Larkin

Martin Larkin

Management Assistant

LinkedIn
mlarkin@godolphinflyingstart.com

Martin began working with Godolphin Flying Start in February 2014. Alongside the programme’s General Manager Clodagh Kavanagh, he helps to deal with the day to day running of the course from our Kildangan Stud base in Ireland. His roles include overseeing the practical horse skills module, website maintenance, administration, education technology, marketing & PR for the programme.

Martin got involved with horses from a young age working at Paul & Tom Monaghan’s Cottage Stud in County Kildare. The Cottage Stud were the breeders of dual international stakes winner Ezzoud. It is there he gained his experience in the thoroughbred industry and also where Martin’s love of horses began. He is driven by horse racing and breeding and follows all race meetings at home and abroad and when time allows he gets to as many as meetings as he can.

Martin is a graduate of Maynooth University, obtaining his Honours Degree in Computer Science & Geography.

Melissa Steele

Melissa Steele

LinkedIn
msteele@godolphinflyingstart.com

Melissa completed the Godolphin Flying Start course in 2015 before spending four and a half years in the Marketing Department at Tattersalls where she built up a strong client base in the bloodstock world, making regular trips to America, Asia and around Europe.

With a Masters in Economics from the University of Edinburgh, Melissa began her career in the London Reinsurance Market before switching her interests to the thoroughbred industry. Catching the racing bug from an early age at her local Goodwood Racecourse, she rode racehorses during the summer holidays and spent a gap year in Australia working as a stablehand for Sydney-based trainer, Peter Snowden. Melissa moved to Ireland in 2019 where she lives in Co. Tipperary with her husband Peter.

Melissa is currently on Maternity leave.

Bethan Byrne

Bethan Byrne

UK Coordinator

LinkedIn
bbyrne@godolphinflyingstart.com

Bethan started her role as Godolphin Flying Start UK Coordinator in 2013 combing this new position with her existing role as Management Assistant in the nominations department at Dalham Hall Stud. Bethan is responsible for all aspects of the trainees’ stay whilst they are based in Newmarket on their UK phase of the programme, including arranging practical rotations at The British Racing School, Darley’s pre-training facility at Hamilton Hill and also the main office at Dalham Hall Stud in addition to organising lectures and visits with industry professionals.

Prior to joining Darley Bethan worked at Tattersalls, Newmarket in the bloodstock department for 5 years. She completed the British Horseracing Board’s Graduate Development Programme after graduating with an MA (Honours) degree in Mediaeval History and German from St Andrew’s University, Scotland in 2000.

Kate Hardy

Kate Hardy

USA Coordinator

LinkedIn
khardy@godolphinflyingstart.com

Kate Hardy has worked at Godolphin since 2012 and added the USA Flying Start Coordinator position to her role in 2017. She splits her time between the Darley Sales team and the USA Flying Start Coordinator at Jonabell farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Kate will be responsible for managing the trainees’ time in Kentucky as they navigate their six-month stay.

Kate completed the Godolphin Flying Start program in 2012 after graduating from the University of Kentucky’s Equine Management Program. She has been passionate about the horse industry from an early age, riding hunters and playing polo for the University of Kentucky. She started working in the thoroughbred industry while in college, getting her start at Fares Farm and Warrendale Sales. Kate lives with her husband Michael Hardy (a fellow Godolphin Flying Start graduate) on Margaux Farm in Midway, Kentucky.

Tayla Gilmore

Tayla Gilmore

Australia Coordinator

LinkedIn
tgilmore@godolphinflyingstart.com

Tayla commenced working with Godolphin Australia, based at Kelvinside Stud in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, in July, 2017. She accepted the Australian Flying Start Coordinator position in 2018 and added it to her existing responsibilities as the Human Resource and Workplace Health and Safety administrator. She is responsible for organising and coordinating the course facilities and itinerary as well as liaising with the trainees throughout their Australian phase from August to December each year.

Prior to joining Godolphin Tayla completed a Bachelor Degree in Human Resource Management at the University of New England. She is passionate about the horse industry and has competed in Hacking and Dressage from a young age. She worked hands on in the thoroughbred industry from the age of 16 at Vinery Stud assisting with yearling preparations and attending a number of sales in both Australia and New Zealand.

Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell

Dubai Coordinator

LinkedIn
cmitchell@godolphinflyingstart.com

Claire was appointed as Dubai coordinator in 2019. Originally from the UK, she moved to Dubai 13 years ago. Her first position was working as secretary for leading trainer Satish Seemar at Zabeel Racing Stables. After 6 years and the opportunity to try her hand at something new, she moved to the Dubai Racing Channel producing and reporting on horseracing and various equestrian events throughout the UAE.

In 2016, a position opened up with Team Z7, an International Sport Horse stable. Claire has been with Team Z7 as Assistant Manager ever since, and whilst enjoying riding out daily she primarily plays an administrative role. Claire has been involved with horses from a very early age and is passionate about all things equestrian, aside from Horse Racing her main interests include International Show Jumping and Polo. She also has a keen interest in travel when time allows.

Claire has a BA (Hons) Business Degree gained from the University of The West of England.