27th Feb 2013
Every morning Michael Kelly (universally known as Daffer) raises the Irish tricolour over the stallion boxes at Tully. It is a simple and unceremonious act which he probably doesn’t think too much about. On Saturday night Daffer got the Award at the Irish Stable and Stud Staff Awards night and we are delighted he did. Daffer has been here for decades and has had his picture taken thousands of times, going about his duties quietly and without much fuss. The stallions in his care reflect that in their surprisingly laid-back behaviour and the visitors appreciate his skill.
We are guilty of flag flying here, but then, that is what we are supposed to do. This is a unique place with a deep history. We are from the same family tree as the National Stud in Newmarket, where their restaurant is called after our founder Lord Wavertree. The farm here in Kildare was Crown property until 1943 when negotiations took the farm into the ownership of the Irish Government, with the stock moving to England to be the beginnings of our namesakes across the water. Part of our job is to fly the flag, for the country but also for this industry.
We are quickly into full stride with the breeding shed busy and the foals arriving with regularity. It is the best time of year, when all horses are champions and the days stretch out before us full of possibilities. We have the added spice of a serious Cheltenham contender following from the impressive victories of Our Conor (by Jeremy), who heads to the Triumph Hurdle with a great chance. While we are trying to breed Classic winners, we are happy to be part of any success in this competitive game.
The seminar in Kilkenny attracted a huge attendance and much comment. It was great to see so many people taking positive steps to improve their returns. It must be an optimistic sign that we havesuch a diverse pool of entrepreneurs pitting their skills and knowledge against the great uncertainty of horse breeding. We need to constantly reinforce the message of the value and reach of this business, and the fact that this region is the best in the world in a sport with a presence on every continent. The industry flag is for everyone to fly
Michael ‘Daffer’ Kelly (Back Row third from left) with the other awards winners at the Irish Stable and Stud Staff Awards