28th May 2013
On behalf of the students of the 2013 Thoroughbred Breeding Course Students I am writing to express our sincere gratitude to Tom Ryan for making our evening at Naas Racecourse on Wednesday the 15th of May such a memorable experience.
Our experience began on Tuesday the 14th when Tom Ryan, Martin Murphy and Willie McCreery gave a talk to the class giving an insight into each of their chosen professions. Tom explained the management of a racecourse and what is involved in running a successful race meeting. Martin described his role as the racing information officer for HRI, explaining to the class how horses are given handicap ratings and the basic principles of the racing programme. This was very beneficial to the people in the class who came from non-racing backgrounds. We were also in awe of Martin when he named out each Grand National winner for the past 53 years! Willie is a graduate of the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Course and is now a successful trainer. Willie spoke about the challenges a trainer can have selecting races to suit his horses and the daily routines associated with training, race day procedures, communicating with owners, jockeys and industry professionals. Tuesday evening was very enjoyable, informative and entertaining especially when the discussion on ‘the going’ came up.
On arrival at Naas Racecourse we were greeted by Tom Ryan who gave atour of the racecourse showing us the stable yard, weigh room and the stewards’ room. Forthe majority of the class this was a revelation as they have been involved in the breeding side of things so to see how a racecourse operates on race day was a brilliant experience. In the Stewards room Peter Matthews (Stipendiary Steward) explained how the stewarding of a race takes place and he showed us all the different camera angles that are used to ensure all parties get a fair hearing and reach a satisfactory outcome of any inquiry.
We walked the course with Brendan Sheridan (Clerk of the Course) and he gave us a very detailed description of the “going” and explained the best ways to test the ground. His example was very clear as to the naked eye the ground looked almost firm but when Brendan put the stick into the ground we could clearly see that underneath the ground was actually quite soft.
We selected the “Best turned out” in 6 of the races kindly sponsored by The Irish National Stud and as each of us had an assignment to complete we were kept busy for the evening.
Congratulations to Mr. J.S. Bolger trainer and breeder of Heart Focus and Mrs. J.S. Bolger owner and Kevin Manning jockey on winning the Dragon Pulse EBF Fillies Maiden which was sponsored by the INS and the EBF (A Racing Post Yearling Bonus Scheme Race).
Thanks to Chris Gordon (Security Officer) who allowed the class the privilege of the behind the scenes visit, we appreciate race days are busy events.
A big thank you is also in order to Kevin O’Ryan Paddock MC and Healy Racing, for supplying the photography on the evening, the class will look forward to seeing some pictures of the night.
It was nice to see the students from RACE and the Equestrian Teams from Rockwell College in attendance as it shows there is still a good young following of racing which bodes well for the industry in the future.
All in all it was an outstanding day out which was enjoyed by all. On behalf of the INS class of 2013 we would like to thank all the people named above along with the caterers of Naas Racecourse, trainers and jockeys for their contribution to a very enjoyable evening.
Donal O’ Loughlin (INS student 2013)