Introducing… Lilly Sahla

Careers in Racing started working a group of content creators earlier this year. All showcasing various routes into the industry or how to make your hobbies your career, this has been done by blogging, vlogging interviewing, presenting and much more.  We now jump more into the stud & breeding side of the industry! You will find this content from our new creators through the year showcasing their career and exploring the different career paths you can have in racing.

So here you can get to know Lilly!

Hi Lilly, Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 25 years old and from Germany, but have lived in England pretty much my whole life. I come from a weird and wonderful big family and travelling is how I have kept myself sane over the last few years.

How would your friends describe you in 3 words?

Communicative, supportive and organised.

Flat or Jumps?

Flat racing, but I haven’t had a chance to watch much jumps racing yet. I’m sure that will change over the winter months though.

How long have you been working / connected to horseracing?

My first stint of working in the racing industry was back in 2018 when I worked at Segenhoe Stud in Australia for my farm work. It was complete and utter chance that I ended up at a thoroughbred stud at the time. I was actually working in the music industry and at first only saw it as a way of completing the required farm work that I needed to apply for my second year working holiday visa. However, once I returned to Sydney I realised that my time at Segenhoe was much more than that. That’s when my career change began. My current job at Kirtlington Stud is my first official job in the industry now that I’m back on home turf though.

What course at the National Stud did you complete?

I completed the National Stud Diploma in Stud Practice and Management this year.

What attracted you to this side of the industry? (Stud & Breeding etc)

I want to become a foaling manager so staying within stud work after the course was a given. Even on the rainiest and coldest days I still get to do what I love, whilst working outside in the fresh air with horses, which all in all makes me feel completely at ease. I am however also trying to gain experience in other sectors of the industry to broaden my knowledge of the racing industry as a whole.

What first attracted you to the sport?

I’m definitely a late bloomer when it comes to the sport as I joined the industry first and foremost to simply work with horses. It helps having friends that are very dedicated to racing though, as I keep learning more and more from them and we try to go to as many race meetings together as possible.

What is your favourite racing memory?

I was at Randwick for Winx’s final race, which was the final win of her career. The atmosphere that day was absolutely incredible. I don’t think anything will ever quite compare to the support the crowd gave her for her last Queen Elizabeth Stakes win.

Where do you feel the sport is now after the lockdowns of last year?

Covid and all the subsequent lockdowns have obviously had their fair share of negative impacts on horse racing and everyone who works in the industry, but I think it’s also important to look at the positives. We’ve had a bustling summer of crowds being allowed back at race days and it’s been great to see everyone there in full swing to support the industry as much as possible again. Personally, I’ll be interested in seeing the difference between the sale results at the end of this year compared to previous years, to analyse just how much of an impact life after lockdown has had on the sales.

What do you enjoy most about working in the industry or building content on the sport?

I love the fact that I’ve been able to turn my hobby into a career. I’ve ridden my whole life and always been around horses, but only as a hobby on the side. I organised work experience placements at riding stables and yards across the world whenever I could, but I never thought that I could turn it into a career. Even though horses have their moments and are the bane of my life at times, I sometimes can’t quite believe my luck that I get to care and look after these wonderful animals every day. I’m looking forward to sharing blog posts and content of my day‐to‐day life on the stud, especially as I want to highlight the positive impact that this line of work has had on my mental health.

Do you have a favourite horse?

I probably have to say Winx, because of her incredible career, but I do also have a real soft spot for greys, so Snow Lantern is currently one of my favourites. I got to see her ride out in the mornings during a week’s work experience at Richard Hannon’s and she truly is amazing to watch.

Favourite Racecourse?

I used to live just up the road from Royal Randwick in Sydney and have gone to a few race days there, so I think I’ll have to go for that one. It has a great lay out, especially where the parade ring is, and it is so centrally located that the race days are accessible to absolutely everyone. I do have to say though that Happy Valley in Hong Kong was one I’ll never forget, as the location is just incredible. I’ve only been to a handful of racecourses in the UK, but so far I really like Newbury.

Which race / racecourse around the world would you love to visit?

I would love to go to the Kentucky Derby in the future. Visiting the racecourse in Tokyo is definitely high up on my list and one of my biggest regrets is not attending the Melbourne Cup when I lived there, so that will also have to be done one day.

You can hear more from Lilly over the coming weeks!