HTBA 2022 Awards

The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association on Wednesday night paid tribute to three exceptional employees, in the fields of administration, horsemanship and leadership.
HTBA Employee of the Year (Administration) Award, Sponsored by OAS Technology.
Winner – Ms Gwenda Bradford- Mordey from Godolphin 
This year’s HTBA Employee of the Year (Administration) Award goes to a lady who is passionate, dedicated, a lover of sports, an indefatigable problem solver, a caring and loyal individual, a former Coral Queen winner and an invaluable asset, Ms Gwenda Bradford – Mordey.
Gwenda, or “Gwenstar” as she is affectionately known, commenced her administration career as a corporate travel planner, which spanned 20 years.  She ventured into the thoroughbred industry with the purchase of Lurline Lodge an agistment farm in Dalswinton, near Denman. As Gwenda turned her talents to working and understanding the breeding of thoroughbred horses, Lurline Lodge became her pride and joy.  Gwenda and her late husband managed Lurline Lodge with good friends Verna and David Metcalf for 13 years. 
After the sale of Lurline Lodge, Gwenda joined Darley Australia in 2006 bringing with her a wealth of experience, industry knowledge and connections. For the past 16 years Gwenda has provided exceptional all round administration from her post at reception including assisting managers, client and visitor liaison, staff communications and event coordination. Gwenda is always up for a challenge and problem solving is her middle name. A penchant for numbers, Gwenda greets all who call personally having memorized every client’s and callers’ mobile numbers not only at Kelvinside but across all 7 Godolphin sites in Australia!
The HTBA congratulates an irreplaceable talent and this year’s Employee of the Year (Administration) Award winner, Ms Gwenda Bradford-Mordey.
2022 HTBA Employee of the Year (Horsemanship) Award, Sponsored by The Hunter Media Co.
Winner – Ms Stacey Reeve from Sledmere Stud
This year’s HTBA Employee of the Year (Horsemanship) Award is presented to a very astute horsewoman who is recognised for her passion, commitment, care and love of horses and Polo Cross, Ms Stacey Reeve.
Stacey has been an integral part of Sledmere Stud for 15 years during which she has demonstrated extraordinary dedication, pride and loyalty to the Sledmere business and all its horses.  Stacey is a devoted Sledmere Stud advocate and ambassador who has made a measurable impact to the farm and its brand.  Her contribution can be measured by the success that Sledmere has had from conception to foaling, weanling handling and the results in the sales ring and on the racetrack all of which could not have been achieved without Stacey’s input, care, management and dedication.  Demonstrating her love of horses, Stacey will always go above and beyond to personally oversee their welfare, veterinary treatment and recovery of all horses under her care.
Respected by her peers, a role model with her horsemanship skills, Stacey is a born team leader imparting her knowledge and experience to all staff at Sledmere, she continues her professional development and knowledge attending the many seminars and short courses HTBA host. Her talent to educate young stock and pass on this knowledge is an invaluable asset to the team at Sledmere.
The HTBA congratulates Ms Stacey Reeve for her remarkable horsemanship talents and recognises her achievements by awarding her the 2022 HTBA Employee of the Year (Horsemanship) Award.
2022 HTBA Employee of the Year (Leadership) Award, Sponsored by Morgan + English | Thoroughbred Recoveries and Safe Industries Australia.
Winner – Ms Toni Freeman from Riversdale Farm
This year’s HTBA Employee of the Year (Leadership) Award is presented to a lady who grew up in a show jumping family, has exemplary experience in the thoroughbred industry, both here and overseas, is a dedicated horsewoman, has prepared and sold Group 1 champions, and is a respected leader and mentor to many in the industry, Ms Toni Freeman.
Growing up in Barraba NSW and travelling to show jumping shows all over the east coast of Australia, Toni displayed her love of horses and horsemanship from an early age.  Her career in the thoroughbred industry commenced with yearling preparation at Coolmore, progressed to yearling management at Glenlogan Park and expanded to all aspects of stud work through her work in Japan and the USA.
On her return to Australia, Toni took up a placement as Yearling Manager with Riversdale in 2011 where she has been ever since. 
Throughout her career, Toni has prepared and sold Group 1 champions such as Nettoyer, Samadoubt and Behemoth, run large drafts at all major sales, trained and mentored staff, and demonstrated an exceptional rapport with trainers, agents and clients alike.  Toni’s dedication to horses, staff and the Riversdale farm is unparalleled. Toni goes above and beyond in all that she undertakes.   She is a very much valued and appreciated member of the Riversdale family.
In addition to her significant achievements, Toni is very humble, has an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and is a natural leader and mentor. A frequent attendee of annual HTBA Breeders seminars and industry Supervisor and Management courses, a true leader by example to which many in the industry today would owe their success in large part to Toni’s leadership, dedication and care.
The HTBA congratulates Ms Toni Freeman on her outstanding leadership and contribution to the industry by awarding her the 2022 HTBA Employee of the Year (Leadership) Award
The HTBA President’s Award for Lifetime (Industry) Achievement awarded to John Sunderland is presented in recognition of an individual for their many years of dedication to thoroughbred breeding, research and development and campaigning to preserve and protect our proud thoroughbred breeding industry and heritage.
While he may look young, this man has dedicated decades to the thoroughbred industry, passionately devoting himself to developing the industry, championing our causes and placing education and training firmly on the national agenda.
To say that an outstanding thoroughbred breeding career in Australia started in Ireland and benefitted from international experience would be an understatement.  His involvement with horses started as a young lad.  Like many others in our industry his official thoroughbred career began with Coolmore in Ireland in 1986.  From there he travelled to New Zealand to work at Field Horse Stud for 2 years before coming to Australia’s thoroughbred breeding capital in the Hunter Valley.
In Australia he honed his thoroughbred breeding and stud management skills at Bhima, Darling Downs Vatana Farm, Yarraman Park and then with the global thoroughbred breeding operations of Darley, now Godolphin, owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.
Taking up the reigns as Darley Australia’s first stud Manager in Australia at Kelvinside in 2003 he contributed to the development of Darley Australia from its raw state to what it is today.  Over six successful years, he placed his stamp on the world renown, state of the art Darley Kelvinside operations.
In 2008 HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum purchased the Ingham’s Bloodstock empire, including the jewel in the crown, the Woodlands property in Denman.  Darley Australia was now operating multiple breeding properties and racing stables.  In 2009 Woodlands needed a new General Manager, which he took up with pride and managed with passion, dedication, commitment and proficiency.
His commitment to our industry was not limited to making his mark on one of the world’s largest breeding and racing empires and some of Australia’s most prestigious breeding operations.  Throughout his career he has lead and nurtured his staff, mentored and motivated many, and become a role model based on his commitment to excellence, teamwork, integrity and respect.
As the former chairman of the HTBA’s Education Sub-Committee he has passionately championed education and training for the industry. In 2012 he initiated the HTBA’s EquiStart School Based Training Program.  EquiStart has since evolved into the successful “Thoroughly Schooled” and EquiStart Newcomers work experience programs.  He is a vital member and contributor to the NSW Workforce Development Project.  His commitment to placing thoroughbred skills and training on the national agenda has seen him take the position of Industry Expert for breeding on the National Skills Impact – Racing and Breeding Industry Reference Committee.  Through his vision and advocacy, he is at the forefront to certify a formal education pathway for the thoroughbred industry.
For decades he has contributed to championing our cause to protect and preserve our industry from incompatible development due to the encroachment Industry.  And he has dedicated his personal time to serving the community through many organisations including Pony Clubs, Equestrian events, sports teams, chambers of commerce and through his chairmanship of the Merton Court Retirement Village and the Muswellbrook Race Club – presiding over historic achievements to infrastructure.
A proud father of two, respected industry leader, passionate industry advocate, valued industry ambassador, and committed community member he has contributed significantly to the development of our industry and continues to do so.
The HTBA is very proud to present Mr John Sunderland with the 2022 President’s Lifetime Achievement (Industry) Award.
The Murray Bain Service to Industry Award honours the outstanding achievements of those in our industry who champion exceptional service to industry and hands-on practice.  This year’s Murray Bain Service to Industry Award recipient is Ms Yvonne Clerke.                                                                                                                                      
With some 40 years experience in the industry Yvonne first demonstrated her devotion to horses at the feet of her father in Taplow England, a passionate horseman himself.  From a young age, Yvonne displayed a selfless and tireless commitment to caring for all whom she encountered, especially foals, applying her natural talents in a very practical way to foal care, neonatal foaling, horse therapy and rehabilitation and best practice horse husbandry.  She is a natural and very talented horsewoman.
Yvonne brought these qualities with her when she emigrated to Australia over 30 years ago applying them equally to foals and humans alike.  Her commitment to nursing and caring for foals is legendary and she has provided practical input for many Hunter-based research projects related to mare fertility, including caterpillar-related abortion, oviduct surgery and uteropexy surgery with Dr Angus Adkins.
Yvonne applies a hands-on approach to everything she does from general horse husbandry to nursing foals, participating in leading edge research, her teaching and mentoring of students and staff, and her love of her family, friends, community and the Glastonbury Farm.
Yvonne married Mark at Glastonbury.  Both her sons, Nathan and Ryan were born there. Many Scone TAFE students have passed through the farm, benefitting from her natural talents and hands on approach to best practice horse husbandry.  Yvonne has never stopped mentoring people and sharing her love, experience and knowledge of our industry.  To say Yvonne is indefatigable is an understatement.  Her dedication and work commitment to all she undertakes is immeasurable.
Yvonne and Mark Clerke and Duncan and Di Grimley purchased the Glastonbury Farm in 2003.  This very successful partnership began well before that and has spanned many decades.  It is a partnership that exemplifies outstanding professionalism, trust, commitment, their shared passion for the industry and exceptional service to clients and staff.
Yvonne is also totally immersed in and dedicated to our community, quietly working behind the scenes to improve the lives of many in here in the Upper Hunter. She is a member of the Scone Horse Festival Committee, coordinates the Scone Horse Festival Fete, runs the Scone Rugby Club, and continues to serve our schools here in Scone, regardless of the fact that her sons left school 2 years ago. 
Yvonne is well known and respected as a person who leads by example, is hard working and devoted to the industry, our community and all who work at or pass through Glastonbury Farm.  To quote her friends “she is an awesome giving person, a tireless worker and the most selfless person we know”
The HTBA is very proud to present Mrs Yvonne Clerke with the 2022 HTBA Murray Bain Service to Industry Award.