A once in a lifetime experience is how Hughenden’s Cassy Delahunty describes the whirlwind few weeks she’s just completed on the Gold Coast amid the glamour and excitement of the Magic Millions carnival.
The 19-year-old daughter of Colin and Denise Delahunty, Rockwood, Hughenden, can thank her university studies in event management, her Longreach Pastoral College horse training, and a conversation at a school reunion for her breath-taking glimpse inside the world of star-studded horse racing.
It all started when her dad was catching up on news at a Nudgee College reunion with schoolmate and Blackall stock and station agent, Des Cuffe, whose daughter, Sarah Todd, works for the Magic Millions event management team.
“He told Dad about traineeships they have, which I applied for and got accepted to,” Cassy explained. “I did two weeks before Christmas doing prep work and then I started on January 3 and I’ve worked straight through until today (January 15).”
As well as plenty of office work such as ticketing, all essential to make the events run smoothly, Cassy was able to sample the flavour of the polo carnival, the race day and the barrier draw on the Surfers Paradise beach, and the yearling sales.
“I couldn’t have started at a more elite level,” she said. “I got to see inside the event and it’s certainly confirmed that I want to work in the event management field once I complete my Torrens University study.”
While she started in a very starstruck state, seating people such as ex-NRL star Billy Slater and trainer Gai Waterhouse and rubbing shoulders with the like of Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras and Queen Elizabeth’s grandaughter, Zara Tindall MBE, Cassy said she got used to it all.
With her Longreach Pastoral College horsemanship certificate under her belt and experience of grassfed racehorse training for the Kooroorinya meeting, Cassy was keen to get out and see the yearlings.
It meant she not only got to work with the event’s vets on microchip scanning and scoping but she also helped clear a pathway to the beach for the horses and worked with the jockeys in the surf environment.
“I’ve never worked in an environment where everyone works together so well, but they’ve got to do it to make the amount of events work at the high level they have them,” she said.
“Even something as simple as the Magic Millions’ managing director, Barry Bowditch, remembering the names of myself and the two others doing work experience made an impression on me.”