Prince relishing top job after six years preparing

Noelle Prince
Noelle Prince
Noelle Prince has had only six days in the top job — but she had six years to prepare for it.

Prince is the new general manager of the Otago Racing Club at Wingatui, replacing Grant Gaskin.

She only stepped up from the assistant manager role on Monday, meaning this week’s dual meetings at Cromwell are effectively her first in charge, but there will be no need for a settling-in period.

"It’s not like I’m in at the deep end because I’ve been around a while now," Prince said.

"I’m really looking forward to it. I’m glad we can still go ahead with some racing at the moment."

She moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2015 for a role at the ORC under then-manager Andre Klein.

"I was meant to do three months and then return home, but I’m still here.

"I’m very much part of the furniture now. There’s no getting rid of me, ha ha."

Making the decision to stay became easier when Prince, then Noelle Supple, met and married Blake Prince, son of Taieri trainer Steven Prince.

The couple married in February 2020 and have an 9-month-old son.

Noelle Prince has plenty of skin in the game.

Her father, Robbie Supple, was a jumps jockey — his brothers were also jockeys — and is now head starter in the UK, controlling glamour races such as the Grant National, as well as the Royal Ascot meeting, while her mother used to work with leading trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

"So that was all I really knew from a young age — heading off to race meetings. I got a taste of the game and was lucky enough to ride in pony events and do some amateur training."

Prince has also done done riding work for Terry Kennedy and the Andertons.

She was at a different sort of track when Cambridge trainer Nick Smith first alerted her to the job opening at the ORC.

"I was working at Silverstone, the Formula One track, when Nick sent Mum an advert with the job at Wingatui. They always joke it was his fault I ended up on the other side of the world."

Her parents were able to be in New Zealand for her wedding but she has not seen them since.

Covid was just one of the challenges facing the racing industry, Prince said, but she was eager to get cracking in the role.

"The one thing I have found with this community is that, in racing, everybody rallies together to ensure they get the job done.

"The community here in Wingatui was extremely good to me when I came over, so I am glad to be able to give back to them and do a bit of good.

"We’re all in a bit of a waiting game, but it’s going to be an exciting time for Otago racing.

"There are some areas of development, and people who are really keen to get the club going as well as we can, and we have some real opportunities to explore."


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