Darley Flying Start students concluded their time in Kentucky by holding debates at the fourth Darley Flying Start Conference at Keeneland Race Course July 18.
Twelve students form the 2006-2008 Darley Flying Start Class, which is represented by natives of Austrlia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The students debated whether Kentucky will still be the "world stallion capital" by 2030, the benefits and detriments of shuttling stallions, if current stallion books are too large, whether the Thoroughbred industry should adopt artificial insemination, the merits of Australia's foal registration system, and whether the bias against aged stallions is justified.
A panel of three judges scored the debates, which were closely contested. One of the judges was NBC sports reporter Kenny Rice, who also served as moderator.
This was the first year that the students conducted debates. In the past, students had given presentations on topics pertinent to the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industries.
Clodagh Kavanagh, the Darley Flying Start course manager, explained the change in format.
"It's a evolving industry. They're young people and we like to keep (the students) on the ball and entertain the audience," explained Kavangh. "We like to change things we do as often as we can while still maintaining a reasonably formal exercise in communications."
Darley Flying Start is a two-year program created and funded by Sheikh Mohammed of Darley and Godolphin Stables. Through Darley Flying Start, students receive the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the Thoroughbred industry in both classroom and hands-on settings.
The 2006-2008 class started their instruction one year ago in County Kildare, Ireland, before moving to Newmarket in England. Their next destination will be Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia. In 2008, the students will live in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates before they return to County Kildare and Newmarket to conclude the course.