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It’s the Scone Horse Festival and no better time to finalise those who will be ‘winning gold’ at the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Award, the SSSA, for 2021.

Staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia, the Awards are sponsored by MRC Foundation, Australian Turf Club, Magic Millions, Inglis and supported by Godolphin.

With 14 finalists selected from over 170 entries, the awards will be staged on 26 May on the Gold Coast, with S.A. Chief Stipendiary Steward Johan Petzer chairing the Judging Panel.

Judged in seven categories and over $100,000 in prizemoney, the SSSA offers rewards and recognition of work, contribution and time given by those who work mostly behind the scenes.

A $10,000 cash prize goes to the winners of Leadership, Horsemanship, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Administrative and Ancillary Services and Thoroughbred Care and Welfare.

The runner-up in each category receives $3,000, with a further $1,000 shared among work colleagues. The Newcomer Award carries a $5,000 prize plus an educational experience in Dubai.

In addition, an overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award of $5,000 is made to the individual from Stud and Stable only who ‘must have made a significant, exceptional contribution to the industry.’

‘Going for gold’ in the Leadership Award for Stud and Stable are Samantha Parkes of Godolphin NSW and David Hanratty from Yarradale WA, with Simon Johnson of Godolphin winning last year.

In recognising Leadership it’s for ‘an individual staff member in a managerial or supervisory role in a stud or stable who has displayed leadership qualities, in particular people management.’

It also recognises ‘the mentoring and support of staff, attention to workplace health and safety, commitment to continuous improvement and displaying good business acumen.’

The Inglis sponsored Horsemanship Award for Stud and Stable is between Mandy Radecker of Michael Lakey Qld and Adam Shankley from Arrowfield NSW, with Mandy being runner-up last year.

‘An award to a staff member who has shown talent for horsemanship, consistency and reliability in or out of the saddle, and must include an affinity with horses and gives a priority to animal welfare.”

‘The staff member must demonstrate a degree of success with the thoroughbred, whether it be in breeding or racing or both, that has been borne out of their particular skill set.’

The Dedication to Breeding Award sponsored by Magic Millions is set to be a tussle between Carla Aliphon of Cityview Farm in Victoria and Steve Brien of Twin Hills Stud at Cootamundra NSW.

‘An award to an individual staff member who has shown talent in thoroughbred breeding horsemanship, consistency and reliability in a stud role.’

‘The staff member must have at least 5 years’ service in the breeding industry and must have been pivotal in his or her employer’s success.’

Jess Hood of Arrowfield NSW and Cassandra Simmonds of Magic Millions Qld are the two finalists for Administration and Ancillary Services, that is sponsored by the MRC Foundation.

The Australian Turf Club sponsored Dedicated to Racing is always keenly contested and it’s down to Gary Fennessy of Lindsay Park Victoria and John Brady of Waterhouse Bott Racing NSW.

‘In demonstrating a commitment to the care and welfare of thoroughbreds’ it’s Jade Willis of JW Equestrian Victoria and Jordan Priest of Eureka Stud, Qld for Thoroughbred Care and Welfare.

In already displaying a pride and passion for the thoroughbred industry, the Newcomers finalists are Fiona Bayly of Ciaron Maher Racing Vic and Jack Cripps of McEvoy Mitchell Racing Victoria.

Open to those with less than three years’ experience it’s the Newcomers Award that identifies those of the future who will develop into a significant valuable member of this industry.

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