Young Victorian Katelyn Butler has been selected for the 2017-2019 intake of the Godolphin Flying Start Scholarship, a two-year full-time international management and leadership-training program for the thoroughbred industry.
Until recently a Swettenham Stud employee, Katelyn is honoured to be the only Australian or New Zealand candidate selected. Other countries represented include the USA, UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
Undoubtedly the cream of the crop, only twelve candidates are chosen annually to receive the highly competitive industry scholarship, designed to provide management training to a diverse group of potential thoroughbred industry leaders.
“It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the Flying Start program. Tailored to the fact that I have completed a business degree, and enjoy both racing and breeding, it is the perfect fit,” Butler said.
Based over two years, Katelyn is excited about the practical experience she will gain through the program at Godolphin operations and in her external work placements.
She is also looking forward to the diversity of the course, covering business management, sales and bloodstock agent roles, public relations and media with a strong emphasis on personal development, leadership and teamwork.
“I will be able to build up an international network by attending social events and race meetings as part of the program. It will be an amazing opportunity to meet thoroughbred industry leaders from all over the world,” Butler said.
Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster, until recently the employer of Katelyn, said he is thrilled that Katelyn has taken up the challenge that the graduate program presented to her.
“We encouraged her to apply for Godolphin Flying Start as she had the right credentials, right age, the right attitude, and we supported her to be one of the first female stallion handlers in the covering barn,” Sangster said.
“The Flying Start graduates that are out there now, are paving the way for the future of the thoroughbred industry, and Katelyn has got the potential to be a very significant part of that. She is the ideal candidate to fly the Aussie flag.
“It will give her a wonderful opportunity to travel to all the key thoroughbred countries, learning new skills under the guidance of Godolphin mentors. I would like to fully congratulate Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai and his advisors on the quality of the Flying Start syllabus.”
Katelyn’s family became involved with horses through her grandfather racing horses with Rick Hore-Lacey and Brian Mayfield-Smith.
“He had a Pago Pago Stakes winner called Yachtie who stood in New Zealand. When he passed away we bought a mare from his estate and raced her, called Admiral’s Lady for a couple of city wins – she became out first broodmare.” Butler said.
Katelyn’s parents, Frank and Karen, own the stallion Zupaone and have a quality band of about ten broodmares at their Riversdowns Farm in Seymour.
They have had success on the track in recent years racing Aeratus, Lion Of Belfort, Zupacharged, Zupasonic, Sheila’s Star, Daintree Duke, Roop All, Weekend Special, Sheza Commander and the much loved, highly promising ill-fated Zuprising.
Katelyn gained experience at Chatswood and Yarran, before joining the team at Swettenham for over two years.
“I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with the stallions thanks to Tim Jones. He gave me that chance; he believed that girls could do it.”
“He saw how dedicated I was to my work, I was always happy to help out, and hovering around at the late covers or early morning serves. He was a great man, missed by so many people. He gave me the confidence to believe I could do something like this.”
“Paul Fiddian, Swettenham’s Assistant Manager, was also great, helping me with the coverings last season. The stunning grey, Puissance De Lune, was my favourite stallion to work with.”
The Flying Start program starts in August in Ireland at Godolphin’s Kildangan Stud and the University College Dublin, before heading to Newmarket in England for (hopefully) a white Christmas.
Next year, they will begin the Americain leg of the program, returning to Australia, before travelling to Dubai and back to Ireland to graduate.
“I am sad to miss the stud season in Australia, but I will more than make up for it by doing the Northern Hemisphere breeding season in Kentucky,” Butler said.
Godolphin Flying Start graduates are employed all over the world in existing and emerging thoroughbred markets, and following her graduation, there is no doubt Katelyn will be a valuable contributor to the long-term success of the global industry.
TBV wishes all the best to Katelyn on her incredible opportunity and looks forward to hearing all about her travels and experiences.
For more information visit the Godolphin Flying Start program website.