Irish-based Australian Johnson received a sound piece of advice from his mentor Hubie de Burgh from the moment he started working for him at the 2017 Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
“Developing relationships with participants in the industry are as important as the horse itself,’’ Johnson said. “Hubie’s experience working alongside some of the most prolific owners and breeders has given me a great insight into the global development of the thoroughbred industry.
“The thoroughbred itself is an incredible animal and its ability to be the platform to build personal and professional relationships is at the core of what I love most.’’
Johnson’s parents owned Ealing Park in Euroa, so a career in the racing industry was a fait accompli.
“School holidays were spent in the vet shed and walking broodmares out to farms,’’ Johnson said. “As soon as I finished University I was on the next flight to Newmarket in England and while living in the ‘Australian Embassy’ with Ben Hayes and Hubie’s son Charlie, I got to know Hubie well. He kindly gave me the opportunity to work with him following my time in England as assistant trainer to Roger Varian.’’
While based in Grangecon, Co. Wicklow in Ireland, Johnson spends four months per year (JanuaryApril) in Australia, as well as following the European and American sales season.
“In Australia my work is predominantly purchasing yearlings at each sale alongside Hubie whereas in Europe there is more emphasis on identifying horses for secondary markets in Asia, The United States and Australasia,’’ he said.
“There is a lot of travel throughout the year, as much as six months away from the office, often at short notice if a horse has identified itself as a potential purchase. With England and France so close, much time is spent there throughout the year with the Australian summer being home from January-April. Two summers a year is a definite perk!’’