Eighteen years after leaving Australia on working holiday in England, Sarah Denniff is back to play an important role in the Melbourne spring carnival.
Born in Port Lincoln, Denniff has been living in England for the past 18 years and has returned for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with Snow Sky, trained by her boss Sir Michael Stoute.
Denniff has been with Stoute for the past 14 years after originally heading to England to work for Clive Brittain.
It was the late trainer Peter Hayes who encouraged Denniff to head to England after she began her racing career working for two-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey John Letts in Adelaide.
“I intended to stay 12 months and I’m still there 18 years later,” Denniff said.
A filly by the name of Crimplene, an Irish Guineas winner, took Denniff around the world while she was with Brittain before she moved to Stoute’s Newmarket stable.
She took over one of the Stoute yards and travelled with Snow Sky to the International meeting in Hong Kong last year.
Denniff said the trip to Hong Kong had been beneficial for Snow Sky, insisting the then three-year-old had “left a boy but returned a man”.
“He’s really thrived since he’s been here,” Denniff said.
“He’s a little heavier than what he was before he left and he’s holding that.
“We would be disappointed if we’re not competitive and this is going to tell us how he will adapt to the Australian style of racing.
“He’s used to smaller fields and not so compact and the pace is going to be quicker out of the stalls that what he’s used to.”
While Denniff will be barracking hard for Snow Sky in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, she still calls herself an Aussie and enjoys some banter with Stoute over international sporting events.
“The boss doesn’t leave me alone about the cricket but we’ve had a bit of fun with the rugby,” she said.