On Friday 23rd June graduates of the 31st Diploma in Stud Practice and Management, held annually at The National Stud in Newmarket, were joined by family and friends as well as representatives from the Thoroughbred industry to celebrate their achievements.

The internationally renowned programme combines academic tuition with practical stud work during the breeding season. 22 students received certificates and unique enamel badges for successfully completing the five month residential course. Alongside the practical Diploma achievements, students completed the 1st4Sport Level 3 Certificate in Thoroughbred Stud Practice qualification, the Evening Lecture Programme, Manual Handling and First Aid training all to prepare them for full time posts in the stud industry.

Guest speaker and presenter of the Diploma certificates, Nick Rust, Chief Executive of The British Horseracing Authority provided guests with an industry insight and many words of support and encouragement for the graduates and reiterated the Diploma programme’s importance to the Thoroughbred industry as a whole.

In addition, four annual prizes were presented to high achieving graduates. Nick Rust presented Victoria Hagger, (27 from East Yorkshire) with the highest accolade of the Tim Dunlop Memorial Award. The award is given to the overall top student who demonstrated outstanding performance in all aspects of the course. The National Stud’s Certificate of Merit went to Abigail Duchesne, (22 from Dorset), Ella Yarrow, (19 from Cambridgeshire) received the award for Best Practical student and Gian Marco Papa, (27 from Italy) was presented with the Award for the Most Improved student.

Additionally the inaugural Gerald Leigh Bursary Award was presented to James Chong (29 from London) by Mrs Anna Leigh on behalf of the Gerald Leigh Trustees. The Trust has recently provided significant support to the Wavertree Charitable Trust by sponsoring a student place and bursary award for 10 years. James intends to use the bursary to fly to New Zealand where he is reinforcing his stud experience with a season at Cambridge Stud.

Stud Manager, Tim Lane commented “This is my first experience of the Diploma Course and coming in half way through I have been extremely impressed by the students’ dedication, hard work and commitment. What is really gratifying is that so many of them have already secured employment within the industry and we look forward to following their careers and future achievements.”