9th Jul 2012
This blog has had the longest gestation and not from lack of activity. We have had a hectic June dodging the raindrops while presenting Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado” in the Japanese Gardens. Over a thousand people witnessed a magical event in great humour. The comic opera was written in 1885 but the audience could see that in many ways so little has changed. The setting in the open air (moisture included) with the teahouse and bridge as the backdrop was marvelled at by all.
Our Stud Management students have had their examinations. They were asked “Which famous theatrical partnership wrote “the Mikado”? to which one wag answered “Tony and Roger O’Callaghan”. The other questions included a wide spectrum of the Global racing and breeding world and required a broad general knowledge as well as good grasp of the science. When the scores from all the various assignments, the continuous assessments, the veterinary and farriery exams and the stable management scores were collated, our Gold medallist is Georgina Bolton from New Zealand. This proves we do not hold a grudge for the slaughter of our rugby team. Georgina was recommended and assisted by Trelawney Stud and she is a credit to them. Our Silver medallist is Stephen Kitchener from Norfolk, who scored highly throughout, but lost out by a whisker.
Our students came from ten countries this year and nearly all have specific jobs to go to which is a more solid jobs market than this time last year – we seek any cause for optimism these times. The students are prepared to travel to find the jobs and Australia is a popular destination. We have had a lot of Australian visitors in the last few weeks, Black Caviar groupies who came across to Ireland after Royal Ascot. Among them were Kerry Gillespie from Moonee Valley with Jules Ritchie from Sydney and we were comparing notes about the “Living Legends” retired racehorses initiative in Australia. We were exploring cross-merchandising and joint marketing. How refreshing!
Compare that to the recent launch of the BOBIS scheme where some friends across the Irish Sea seem intent on getting us all back into the trenches fighting a civil war. Surely the real struggle we face is for our embattled industry to try to retain significance in a world where other activities receive more devotion. The Racing Post Yearling Bonus Scheme, for which this year’s yearlings need to be nominated this week, has been a regional development force since its inception. Rivalry is great to generate a sharpness and will never be absent from our sport – it is its essence. However, our marketing resources are required to sell the sport to the outside world, not devoted to internal games of “mine is bigger than yours”.
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