June 22, 2024 5:38 PM

The racing goes ahead



John Sunderland has been in the thoroughbred industry for more than 30 years.

“And I couldn’t be happier,” he added when inviting The Hunter River Times to his office last week.

As general manager of Godolphin’s Woodlands Stud near Jerrys Plains, he will enter Monday’s National Broodmare Sale (held at the Gold Coast) with genuine enthusiasm.

However even the Southern Hemisphere’s number one breeding stock auction will be different in 2020 due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

“We’re looking forward with enthusiasm for the season and even the sale in Queensland this coming week,” he declared.

“People from overseas will be watching live.

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Vin Cox (Managing Director of Godolphin for Australia) with John Sunderland (General Manager of Godolphin’s Woodlands Stud near Jerrys Plains).

“Ideally, people like to look at the animal but if not they are still able to assess their pedigree page and see what they’re buying.”

Mr Sunderland also hopes to see many of his colleagues and peers from interstate however he understands not all will be able to attend this month.

“This sale will be restricted to visitors from Victoria so we’re bringing bloodstock up there to be auctioned off,” he continued.

“There are a lot of challenges within that but hopefully we can get some Victorians up there (Gold Coast) who have already been out of Victoria for a while.

“We’ll wait and see how that plays out a little bit, but it certainly will affect the sale.”

Day One of the National Broodmare Sale features a mouth-watering line up of 163 race fillies and maiden mares.

These include champion sprinting mare Sunlight, Australian Oaks heroine Unforgotten and Group One star Invincibella.

It has now been more than a decade after the Godolphin manager and his Blue army first walked through the gates of the Woodlands Stud near Denman.

Yet he still admits he is in an industry where ‘you never stop learning’.

“There are a lot of aspects to it, you never stop learning and you never stop seeing new things,” he concluded.

“We’ve been fortunate with racing continuing over stricter guidelines because that’s our livelihood.

“The online sales have been tricky for some people to manoeuvre but it is an alternative and it has allowed the cash flow to come through, so it is important.

“It isn’t business as usual in 2020 but the racing goes ahead.”