Introducing our Managing Director
I am originally from Greenock, a small town on the West coast of Scotland, known for once being a busy shipbuilding area until the late 1980s with very little connection to horses or racing.
My interest in racing stemmed from my dad’s avid interest in the sport, he has catalogued most Derby weekends, Royal Ascot, and Cheltenham Festivals since the VHS was invented, plus it was guaranteed it was on our TV most of the time.
I left school when I was 16 and enrolled at the Northern Racing School in Doncaster (England) for their 12-week foundation course in racehorse care and management. I had never seen a horse before so I wasn’t a duck to water but I was surrounded by like-minded teenagers, so I managed to complete the courses and get a placement at a racing stable.
I didn’t initially ride out but worked on the ground for Scotland’s leading flat trainer Jim Goldie and his family at Uplawmoor, a stable that always has good horses who are competitive on the bigger race days. I learned horsemanship and husbandry skills to make me ‘valuable’ plus I loved going racing so the opportunities were plentiful. I progressed enough to travel 2 horses to the 2004 Irish Derby meeting at the Curragh which was a particular highlight, this experience opened my eyes to different racing cultures and the idea of working in a busier racing operation.
I decided on moving to England in the pursuit of learning to ride, working in the busier environments, and experiencing the racing communities of Middleham and Lambourn. I started as a rider/groom for Nicky Richards at Greystoke, before moving slightly further south to Mark Johnston’s in Middleham and then Carl Llewellyn in Lambourn within a 7-year period.
The 7 years I spent in England was hugely beneficial, all brilliant trainers in their own right but the opportunity for growth was limited due to poor prize money and the depth of quality staff vying for the positions that were appealing for career growth.
I met my now wife Hayley in Lambourn and after two years of dating we wanted to explore new opportunities and experiences, so we opted for Australia. We initially saw staying in Australia as a short-term working holiday for 1 or 2 years but it was clear early on that this jurisdiction was growing and the opportunities were abundant.
I started working for John O’Shea as a work rider in 2011, before changing to a freelance rider but I had a bad fall at track work at Randwick, which involuntarily changed my career path out of the saddle. I moved across Randwick to the Gai Waterhouse stable at Tulloch lodge to work with the brilliant Group 1 winner like Pierro, More Joyous, Overreach, Fiorente, and Diamond Drille to name just a few.
I spent two years with Gai working as a foreman, working in the office, assisting at the tower, and latterly on the bloodstock side with Bruce Slade at Round Table Racing.
I moved from Tulloch Lodge to the top of High Street, joining William Inglis in their online department as a digital bloodstock consultant at bloodstock.com.au. This was my first role working in an office environment, primarily tasked with cold calling and prospecting horses to be advertised on the site and assisting with private selling. The rise of digital sales wasn’t apparent yet but I understood how platforms could be adopted by our industry to be vital tools to assist with accelerating tasks such as bloodstock sales.
I spent two years with Inglis before moving into the role of Racing Manager with Michael Freedman, who was returning from Singapore. The role of Racing Manager mainly required me to manage jockey bookings, owner communications, social media, selling shares, saddling up, and the owner’s race day experience.
I loved working for Michael and experienced considerable successes with the fillies Teaspoon and Frolic, who had stakes-winning two-year campaigns culminating in the Golden Slipper where Frolic was narrowly beaten by, She Will Reign.
Michael then moved to Hong Kong to train, which meant I looked at new opportunities and explored new roles. I started Rorison Management as a jockey manager working with Blake Shinn which was a brilliant experience and enjoyed being a part of his 4 winners on Cox Plate Day in 2017 but this role wasn’t for me and decided to pivot and try another avenue better suited.
I started the 2018 year at the Magic Millions yearling sales as Rorison Media, transferring my skills to now offering purchase sale videos to trainers and syndications, assisting them with selling shares through social media and their database. Creating video content wasn’t in demand then, plus social media platforms couldn’t facilitate video content so utilising these videos and selling my services was a slow burner.
I continued to learn the media side, and camera work whilst understanding what our industry’s participants needed assistance with. We’ve been operating Rorison Media for over 4 years and proudly work with a select number of studs, trainers, and syndications to produce conformation videos, and promotional content whilst building an incredible team who we’re always looking at how we can better our services and continue to innovate.
So, we started Stridyl… our vision was to create a dedicated marketplace for trainers and syndications to advertise their shares and create connections with those wanting to become owners. We create attention by producing original entertainment to educate our audience who can then interact with our licensed trainers and syndications to be a racehorse owner.