Damien Fitton’s Winding Down

Damien Fitton’s Winding Down

26th Jun 2017


It’s winding down rapidly at The Irish National Stud, giving us the opportunity to leave the stud and go on some tours, starting the month off with nearby Mick Halford’s racing stable.

Mr Halford started training at the Curragh race course before he decided to buy his own property and train privately, which has seen him have great success in the past 20 years including Group 1 winning 2yo Casamento who was foaled at The Irish National Stud and now stands at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.

Other visits included Tinnakill Stud, Rangers Lodge Pre-Training yard, owned by Richard Brabazon, Troy Town Grey Abbey veterinary clinic where we had the privilege to watch two castrations, one outside in a paddock and one in theatre on a table.

On Sunday 21st of May at Naas racecourse it was time to celebrate all the hard work and dedication John Osborne has put into The Irish National Stud for the past seven years. All students from the past seven years were invited to help celebrate John leaving. It was a successful day and I’m sure John got a big surprise when he saw students from past years.

The last week of May was by far the best. Visits to Kildangan stud to see their composting was very interesting as we have nothing like this down under. It is such an innovative way to benefit from manure.

Next up was a day at Coolmore where we got to see some of the stallions and get our pictures taken with the champion sire in Europe, Galileo. The most exciting part about our visit to Coolmore was being able to walk through Mr Magnier’s Legacy Room – for me it was like Christmas had come early!  All the trophies that Coolmore have won over the years are in showcases but the prized icon in the Legacy room is a taxidermy figure of Sadler’s Wells, which took 18 months to put together.


Sadler’s Wells is enshrined at the Coolmore Legacy room

After our trip to Coolmore we headed off down the road to Ballydoyle stables which has dominated European racing for several years. Ballydoyle is a private farm and only allow a handful of tours a year so we’ve been very lucky to get the chance to visit.  All thanks goes to our wonderful student liaison, Sally Carroll, for organising this once in a lifetime trip for most of the students.

Our final trip for the month was with legendary trainer Jim Bolger; it is incredible what he has put together. He started from scratch and has truly built an empire. I truly respect him for all that he has accomplished in this industry. It is wonderful the way we have been treated on our trips away – the hospitality afforded on all our visits has been top class and has made use feel very welcome. It is thrilling to think that we are the next generation and with the guidance of such well known idols in the industry, one day we will be competing against them in whatever path we all decide to take.


Jim Bolger’s yard at Coolcullen

With all the fun adventures offered on the Irish National Stud course we are also privileged to have special guest lecturers come in and give us more of an insight into the thoroughbred industry. Guest lectures have included Cathy Grassick who spoke to us about Bloodstock Insurance and the benefits of insuring your horses. Luke Lillingston spoke to us about pedigree analysis, Warren Schofield gave us an insight into treating colic and what surgery can be done. Not long left before you will be reading my final blog of this amazing journey. Stay tuned.

Damien Fitton

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