Nichola Cooper has already experienced the bloodstock sales scene in New Zealand; now she is heading to the other side of the world for a six-week spell in the US as the second representative of the Northern Racing College in Doncaster to take part in a new international scholarship.
Nichola, 24, from Manchester and a travelling groom with Richard Fahey’s stable in North Yorkshire, will be based in the Kentucky Bluegrass country at the thousand-acre Crestwood Farm in Lexington under a scheme introduced by the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA).
She is following in the footsteps of Ryan Colley, the first NRC graduate to take advantage of the scheme. But whereas Ryan studied the work of raceday officials, Nichola will be engaged in sales preparation work under the leadership of farm manager Marc McLean at Crestwood, which is home to eight stallions, including the mighty Frankel’s three-parts brother and longtime pacemaker Bullet Train.
“I’m really excited about the trip,” says Nichola, who came back from a riding accident to attend the NRC Foundation Course in 2014 and after completing her Level 2 Diploma in work-based racehorse care is currently doing her Level 3 Diploma. “I want to gain more experience on the bloodstock sales side. I’ve done the sales in Britain and New Zealand, but I’m told they are something else in Kentucky.”
Nichola, whose programme has been arranged by NRC roving assessor Anna Kirkland in Britain and Remi Bellocq, executive director of the North American Racing Academy, in the US, adds: “Opportunities like this for people like me don’t come up very often, and I’m grateful to everyone, including my boss Mr Fahey, for their help and encouragement.”
NRC chief executive Stephen Padgett says: “The scholarships represent a fantastic opportunity for young people to work abroad in real-world situations, and I am sure Nichola will be an excellent ambassador both for Britain and the NRC.”
The IFHRA scholarships are funded by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, which is based in Abu Dhabi.
For further information call Sarah Beattie, NRC marketing co-ordinator, on 01302 861029.