The 2019 Godolphin Flying Start graduation ceremony took place in the beautiful Cape Cross centre at Kildangan Stud in Ireland on the afternoon of Friday, July 5th. Invited guests included the families of the graduating class, Godolphin management and thoroughbred industry leaders who have supported the Flying Start trainees throughout their two years on the programme. 90 people gathered for the formal ceremony. Godolphin Flying Start alumni included trainer Jack Davison and consignor Michael Buckley. Industry leaders included Christy Grassick of Coolmore; Leo Powell from The Irish Field; Sarah McNicholas from the Irish Equine Centre; John Osborne and Suzanne Eade representing Horse Racing Ireland; Kevin Corley of Equine Advances and racehorse trainers Jim Bolger and Michael Halford.
Thoroughbred Daily News Marketing Manager and Godolphin Flying Start graduate of 2017 Alayna Cullen opened proceedings by warmly welcoming guests and trainees’ families from as far away as the USA and Australia. She looked back on her own experiences of the programme and warmly welcomed the graduands into the Godolphin Flying Start alumni network.
Alayna then called on Clodagh Kavanagh to the stage for an interview. Clodagh thanked HH Sheikh Mohammed for his vision and support of Godolphin Flying Start. She complimented her team of coordinators who work to implement Flying Start in Ireland, UK, USA, Australia and Dubai. She explained that Godolphin Flying Start will build on former Continuing Professional Development conferences for the alumni network all over the world with the next event planned for June 2020 in Ireland. Clodagh congratulated the class of trainees on all they had achieved during the two-year programme. She spoke about the value of the University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School accreditation of the program and how it is only one of approximately 100 business schools worldwide to hold the triple crown of accreditation. She said the most critical indicator of quality for Godolphin Flying Start is the performance of the graduates across the world: the nature of the impact they make on the organisations they work for and the businesses they create.
Alayna then welcomed Godolphin Ireland Managing Director, Joe Osborne, to speak to the graduating class. He emphasised the importance of solidarity and integrity in their futures.
Godolphin UK Managing Director and Godolphin Flying Start Trustee High Anderson was then called to the stage to present the Diplomas to the 12 trainees. Four of the graduating class received a Distinction award and Katelyn Butler from Victoria, Australia received a huge round of applause as the top trainee of 2019.
Graduates William McNeile and Amy Buckley then thanked the guests, Godolphin Flying Start management and HH Sheikh Mohammed of behalf of their class before calling Clodagh Kavanagh, Joe Osborne and Martin Larkin to the stage to receive gifts from the class. Guests were then invited to the Kildangan Stud walled garden for a celebration lunch.