Stables full steam ahead

Godolphin steams ahead


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Australian Thoroughbred Breeders Club members Elisa Polley, Sandy Bachelor, John Horton, Carolyn Leggett, Bob Polley, Klaus Potowski Interlocuter and Godolphin’s Craig Nolan, Ethne Potowski, Peter Mansford and Jenny Gibson.

Australian Thoroughbred Breeders Club members Elisa Polley, Sandy Bachelor, John Horton, Carolyn Leggett, Bob Polley, Klaus Potowski Interlocuter and Godolphin’s Craig Nolan, Ethne Potowski, Peter Mansford and Jenny Gibson.

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Godolphin Stables, fresh from summer track success, are certain to achieve a share in rich autumn spoils judging from a list of good horses prepared at their western Sydney training operation of Osborne Park at Agnes Banks.

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GODOLPHIN Stables, fresh from summer track success, are certain to achieve a share in rich autumn spoils judging from a list of good horses prepared at their western Sydney training operation of Osborne Park at Agnes Banks.

I was among a fortunate group from the Australian Thoroughbred Breeders Club allowed a visit to their five-star training complex near Richmond last month.

When visiting, our group saw or talked about a number of racehorses including Hartnell, Kementari, Interlocuter, Osborne Bulls, Revenire, Viridine, Astoria and Beijing Board.  

According to our tour guide Craig Nolan, who is operations manager for Godolphin NSW, they have 84 horses in work at Osborne Park. 

With the magnificent backdrop of the Blue Mountains, and bordered by the Hawkesbury River on the western side and Castlereagh Road on the east, Osborne Park is one of three Godolphin training centres. 

The others are Warwick Farm, which has 100 horses, and at Flemington with another 40.  

“Since it began operations (Osborne Park in December 2010) we’ve had 380 winners, nine Group one winners, 16 Group two winners, 19 Group three winners and 15 Listed winners (to early February),” Craig said. 

Horses from two to seven-year-olds, as well as a number of horses spelling could be seen on the property. 

“The bulk of our two-year-olds are in at Warwick Farm, as James (current trainer James Cummings) wanted them in a busier environment so they will get atone, comparing to here which is more relaxed,” Craig said.

They have about 60 staff, 10 dedicated on gardens, machinery and property maintenance. 

The four barns, which each contain 22 horse stalls, have a foreperson, an assistant, and a number of stable staff, many of these having a dual role of stable work as well as trackwork rider. 

“The first thing that happens each morning and afternoon is take and record the horses’ temperature,” Craig said. 

“Anything that is 38.4 or below will work, and anything over will not work, and may have a vet look at it, however, at times hot weather will be taken into account.”

Starting at 5.30am, the track riders learn which are their morning mounts via a work-sheet or television screen in each barn.

There are also six professional riders which come in just to ride some mornings, for example Tye Angland, Jeff Penza and Brenton Avdulla. 

(Interlocuter) is a lovely horse and still a stallion, and is still in the making. - Craig Nolan

Revolutionary manure bins   

WHILE experiencing a lot of staff developing sore backs early on, Osborne Park did away with anybody carrying heavy dung-sacks.

They developed a new method of large two metre by one metre by one metre high square bins being placed in the stable aisles. 

Stable people put the manure in a small garbage type bin, which is then thrown into the larger bins that are taken away by a fork-lifter, then deposited into a huge dumpster of which is taken away for land-fill. 

“We have had no back issues since we introduced this system,” Craig said.  

The horses 

SINCE our group’s visit, Lonhro colt Kementari has won two Sydney Group races, Great Britain-bred Hartnell (by Authorized) won the MRC C F Orr Stakes-G1 before third in the Peter Young Stakes-G2 in Melbourne, Beijing Board (Dubawi) won the Davali Thoroughbred Cup in Sydney, and three-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt Astoria has been Group placed twice in Melbourne.  

“We have high hopes for him (Astoria) this year,” Craig said.

“He has come back (from a spell) in enormous shape, and has thickened up a lot.” 

Club members with Klaus Potowski and Bob Polley standing in front of a stack of Godolphin manure bins at Agnes Banks.

Club members with Klaus Potowski and Bob Polley standing in front of a stack of Godolphin manure bins at Agnes Banks.

Interlocuter is a US bred son of Medaglia d’Oro, and has won six races. 

“He is a lovely horse and still a stallion, and is still in the making,” Craig said.

Standing on the hill looking down upon the training tracks at Godolphin’s Osborne Park, Agnes Banks. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

Standing on the hill looking down upon the training tracks at Godolphin’s Osborne Park, Agnes Banks. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

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