Fast-tracking young equestrians’ careers with a Flying Start

Multiple career paths are open to graduates of a unique two-year management and leadership training programme that was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum in 2003. Kate Dobinson explores the global opportunities...

Bloodstock agents, trainers and track managers are just some of the global guardians responsible for a racing thoroughbred’s journey. And the Dubai Future Champions Festival that commenced at the Rowley Mile Racecourse from October 7-9 makes pertinent the particular skill and fervor honed in analysing animals’ pedigree, in brokering lucrative contracts and even matchmaking for the broodmares and stallions that go on to create equine legends.

Multiple career paths – not only in the equestrian world – are open to graduates of a unique two-year management and leadership training program that was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum in 2003. The ultimate goal is not only to recruit talented individuals globally to specialise in the international thoroughbred and breeding industry, but to prepare young people with the transferable skills that will transform their futures.

For bloodstock agent Alex Elliott for example, his time on the Godolphin Flying Start Programme led him to purchase G2 winner No Jet leg and stakes winner Birdlove and Clenor in the two years since graduating.

Others such as graduate Brianne Sharp encountered 6am starts working hands on as part of the stud and stable staff, management meetings and lectures before securing her current role as Executive Assistant to Director of Racing Jimmy Bell at Darley USA, where she monitors all horses in training, is in charge of the racehorse rehoming programme and is local coordinator for the Dubai International Thoroughbred Internships.

Consequently, one of the greatest strengths of Godolphin Flying Start alumni is their network of business relationships, says fellow graduate Darren Fox, Stallion Seasons Sales Manager, Darley Stallions, USA.

‘The Godolphin Flying Start program fast-tracked my career in the thoroughbred industry and opened many doors’, he says. ‘It provided me with a global network of contacts which still prove invaluable today. The course allowed me to experience every facet of the industry and ultimately make a highly informed career decision upon graduation.’

For the younger generation, The Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project (NAGBP) is emphasizing the exciting industry opportunities open to school children and is facilitates by Racing to School, a charity that supports learning and development for students in all year groups.

Nick Froy, principal of Newmarket Academy says the £250,000 five-year partnership with Godolphin represents Newmarket Academy's commitment to placing itself at the heart of the community.

‘It is not just about racing – it could be about the lawyers that arrange the buying of horses, the farriers, the leisure industry and more. It's about showing students about what is possible. This programme can give them advice and contacts and work experience and that means when they get to 18 or 21, they are ready to apply for the jobs that they want.’

In conjunction, the Dubai Future Champions Education Week Project brought together a chattering crowd of local school children at the Rowley Mile last week – not only to engage with the historic area in which they live, but to inspire them to a potential career in the racing industry, from the National Stud to Newmarket Equine Hospital.

The five-day education programme was structured around the racing industry and throughout the week students undertook racing-related tasks and lessons incorporating topics such as science, geography, history, art, fitness, nutrition, and photography. 

The Dubai Future Champions Festival celebrates the most talented young horses and is proud to engage with the local community through its education initiatives and provides a natural link from Newmarket to Dubai, says James Maughan, Director of Dubai Business Internships, a Falcon and Associates initiative which provides top graduates a unique opportunity to learn and do business in Dubai.

‘Given the focus on talent, this year, we decided to take the opportunity to highlight other initiatives in Dubai which nurture young people across business and innovation as well as equestrianism. Programmes such as Dubai Business Internships and Dubai 100 attract talented young people from around the world to Dubai to fast-track their careers, whether they are seeking to join an international business or to launch their own startup.

‘Dubai is a visionary city and a place of real opportunity for young people to accelerate their careers and continuously develop and learn.’