UK Phase of Godolphin Flying Start Begins Remotely


In any ordinary year, the Godolphin Flying Start First Year Trainees would have just arrived in Newmarket to commence the UK phase of course. 2020 is no ordinary year though, and in adaption to challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, trainees shall remain in Ireland and complete the UK segment of the course remotely.

It is testament to technology and the fantastic cooperation from outside lecturers, guest speakers and Godolphin Management that nearly every element of the course will be able to continue online. From a theory perspective, this part of the programme will include bloodstock insurance, racing administration, nominations sales, marketing, HR, racing and veterinary management, as well as, an introduction to the legal system.

The trainees shall also be able to keep up their practical experience with the yearlings at Kildangan, as well as, exercising racehorses during a two-week course at the Racing Academy & Centre for Education (RACE) which would ordinarily have taken place at the British Racing School.

It is hoped that the 2020-2022 trainees shall still get to spend time in Newmarket and meet industry figures based there, in person, during a study tour to the UK scheduled later in their programme.

UK-based Godolphin Flying Start Co-Ordinator, Bethan Byrne, along with Team Leaders Tommy Lyon-Smith and George Broughton shall be responsible for the smooth running of virtual UK phase and Broughton commented;

“We’re incredibly excited that our UK phase of the Godolphin Flying Start is able to go ahead virtually. Being able to speak to and learn from leaders of the UK industry whilst immersing ourselves in British racing remotely is an amazing opportunity. A huge thank you must go to all the team at Flying Start and Godolphin for making this possible in what are extremely challenging times.”

The Irish Phase of the course finished on a high with a conference entitled: “Thoroughbred Microshares: The Future of Horse Racing”. Trainees presented their ideas on microshare ownership and the potential it could have in attracting a wider participation in horse racing, fielding questions afterwards from over 60 attendees from around the world.  During this segment of the course trainees also completed their Equine Anatomy, Physiology and Reproduction module at UCD and have participated in a number of workshops including communications, multimedia training, pedigree analysis and conformation assessment.

Donncha McCarthy and Brigitte Murphy were responsible for leading the team during the Irish phase and Murphy said;

“The Irish phase was a great success! We had a unique start in quarantine but a very positive end with the Irish Conference. We’ve learned just how adaptable we are by the changing circumstances and it certainly brought us together as a team. We look forward to continuing our comradery as we move into the UK phase.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, our Second Year Trainees have been able to continue the course much the same as normal following two weeks of quarantine at the beginning. Currently based in Scone in New South Wales, they are completing practical rotations in the surrounding area, as well as, visiting some of the Hunter Valley’s most prestigious stud farms and completing their Leadership module at Macquarie University Graduate School of Management in Sydney.

Director of Godolphin Flying Start, Clodagh Kavanagh said;

“It has been important for us to be reactive to the everchanging environment presented by COVID-19 but it brings me great satisfaction that despite the challenges, the groups of trainees in both Australia and Ireland have adapted well and have been able to achieve many of the same learning outcomes as previous year groups.”

Applications for the 2021 intake of Godolphin Flying Start shall open on 1st December, a month earlier than in previous years and with a more streamlined application process.