2nd Jul 2015
A total of 23 students graduated from the renowned Thoroughbred Breeding Course at the Irish National Stud last Friday afternoon
THE Irish National Stud’s Thoroughbred Breeding Course has produced many prominent members of a variety of areas of the global bloodstock industry so it is a fair bet that at least a few of this year’s graduating class will go on to become well-known in time.
The 23 men and women who were presented with their certificates at last Friday’s ceremony, held in a marquee near the lake and Japanese Gardens, represented three continents and they are a group for whom Chief Executive John Osborne expressed high hopes.
The renowned course is almost six months in duration, residential, and exposes students to all areas of the business through a combination of hands-on work on the farm, lectures from a wide variety of experts, a large number of projects, several other assessments and exams, and a string of visits to other farms, racetracks, sales rings, training yards and other places of interest.
The top two students receive medals and this year the gold was won by Brian McGuire, 25, from Listowel in Co Kerry.
A graduate of the University of Limerick, Brian worked at Cooneen Stud, at Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky, and also for Dermot Farrington before his time in Tully, and he now plans to travel and gain more experience with a long-term aim of managing or developing a stud.
“It is an honour and privilege to be here to accept this award,” he said. “I did not expect this. It is a fantastic opportunity just to be accepted on to the course.
“It is a great course, and so enjoyable, and I encourage everyone to do it,” he added. “I want to say thanks to John Osborne, to Sally Carroll, and to all of the staff at the Irish National Stud.”
Lauren Eisemann, 23, from Ann Arbor in Michigan, is the silver medallist for 2015 and she is a graduate of Ohio State University.
She completed a one-year Kentucky Equine Management Internship with Juddmonte Farm and she is now heading to Segenhoe Stud in Australia for the breeding season and for the Magic Millions Yearling Sales.
The hands-on practical work of the students is assessed every week and the person who scores most highly overall wins one of the four regular prizes awarded at the end of the course.
Mark Power, 24, from Caragh near Naas, won that prize and the former apprentice jockey has his sights set on becoming a trainer. He is a graduate of Maynooth University, has worked at Yeomanstown Stud and at Woods Edge Farm, and he will be returning to Yeomanstown for yearling sales prep before heading to the USA in November to work for Todd Pletcher.
Also ongoing throughout the duration of the course is a series of projects that must be completed. They cover a wide range of areas, including racing, pedigrees, sales, and veterinary procedures, and the prize for the best portfolio of reports went to Patrick Masson, 25, from Versailles in Kentucky.
“I have worked for Coolmore’s American division in Kentucky and done bloodstock work for Green Lantern Stables,” he said. “I’d like to be part of a large stud’s team especially in terms of buying, selling, and planning matings.”
The final exam is in two parts and the award for the highest score on the veterinary exam went to Mike Smith, 26, from California. He has done stud and sales work in Australia, New Zealand and France, he would like to run a stud some day, and he is now about to start the Darley Flying Start course.
The other exam covers everything else, a challenging one on which John Osborne says nobody has yet scored 100%, and this year’s prize winner was Katherine Richards, 23, from Sussex.
Katie has worked for Fontwell racecourse and she may head to the southern hemisphere to gain further experience.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said, “and the time has passed in a whirlwind.”
Two other prizes were presented on Friday, one long-established and one new addition.
The latter, The Irish Field Award, came about from a challenge set by the paper’s Managing Editor Leo Powell after a lecture with the students. They were asked to write a short essay on one of the Blue Hen mares, and Jacob Memolo’s winning piece was published in last week’s edition.
Presentation of the other award is made at the start of the graduation ceremony each year. It is sponsored by the Class of 1984 and this year’s recipient of the John Durkan Award is Ivo Thomas.
Named in honour of the late John Durkan, its aim is to give a valuable learning opportunity to someone who wants to work towards becoming a trainer, and Ivo will be heading to Brian Meehan’s yard. Brian Meehan is also an Irish National Stud graduate.
The closing date for applications for a place in the Class of 2016 is in mid-October and details can be obtained from www.irishnationalstud.ie or by emailing Sally Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.