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NMIT graduates run into top form for Spring Racing Carnival

25 Mar 2013

Cox Plate Connections. While she didn't figure in the placings, upcoming mare, Avienus, put in a great run during last Saturday's Cox Plate to finish a highly creditable 6th placing in the $3 million race.

There weren't too many people happier with Avienus' performance than Trainer, Mark Webb. Mark, an NMIT graduate from the Certificate IV in Racing said that, “basically, she's finished four and a half lengths behind one of the best horses in the land … it was an outstanding result for us … a lot of trainers never get to experience that.”

Having already worked in the industry for many years, Mark enrolled in the Certificate IV in 2004 in order to obtain his trainer's license. He studied mainly by distance but remembers on-campus sessions at NMIT's Northern Lodge horse stud at Eden Park. “It was a very credible course for people who need to broaden their knowledge,” recalls Mark. “We need good people to cover these bases and I've found them (NMIT) very good.”

After finishing his studies at NMIT, Mark started training “jumpers” before progressing to flat racing and six years later finds himself training a Cox Plate runner.

Mark trains most of his horses at the Cranbourne training complex and currently employs around two full-time and three part-time staff.

Mark says Avienus' next big race will be the Emirate Stakes on 6 November, although for the Melbourne Cup Mark fancies Precedence - “that would be my mail”.

The NMIT connection with the Cox Plate doesn't stop there - Strapper, Jason Chandler, graduated from NMT's Diploma in Racing in 2006. Although he didn't strap Cox Plate second place getter, Zipping, last Saturday, Jason has been a longstanding member of the Zipping team.

Another trainer and NMIT Equine graduate with a horse running at Moonee Valley last Saturday was John McArdle. Prior to studying at NMIT John was Foreman for renowned trainer, Lee Freedman, and already had considerable industry experience. However, to gain his trainer's license, John enrolled in the Diploma in Racing. He enrolled at NMIT and due to his extensive industry experience was granted credits (via NMIT's Recognition of Prior Learning process) for a number of units in the Diploma. He then completed the remaining few units via correspondence, finishing in 2003. “It (studying at NMIT) was good and I won my first Group 1 race within 12 months of obtaining my license,” recalls John.

Although he didn't have any runners in the Cox Plate last Saturday, John had a runner in a two-year old race at the same meeting and has trained 14 stakes winners since graduating, including Hollow Bullet who won the 2004 VRC Oaks. John has also been among the top 20 Victorian trainers for the past five years running.

2010 NMIT Kyneton Cup

As a major training provider in the racing, farriery and equine breeding industries, NMIT is committed to supporting the racing industry in Victoria. This is illustrated by NMIT's ongoing sponsorship arrangement with Kyneton District Racing Club. NMIT is the naming rights sponsor for NMIT Kyneton Park and the 2010 NMIT Kyneton Cup, a significant country meeting on the Spring Racing calendar.

The NMIT Kyneton Cup takes place at NMIT Kyneton Park on 3 November. Go to for more information.

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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