9th Mar 2017
The season has well and truly kicked into gear. Foals are dropping faster than Winx round Royal Randwick and the lads in the stallion barn are well into their work. Interestingly enough there isn’t really a start date to the breeding season over here unlike our 1st of September kick off. They use 14th of February as a guideline to ensure there won’t be foals being born before their birthday (January 1st) to avoid foals that are technically classed as yearlings. Below is a picture of the first foal for both the season and Bobby Kehoe. They say fatherhood is the best feeling in life, this photo proves the theory well and truly.
Tommy Kehoe (left), Bobby Kehoe (right). No relation.
The Goffs February sale (7th-9th February) kept us busy with the Marketing Director, Joey Cullen, assigning us the task to either pin hook a weanling or choose a broodmare for our broodmare band. Personally this was my favourite assignment thus far as we actually had to get out and play bloodstock agent for the day (a role I could easily become accustomed to in the future) and choose a thoroughbred we thought could make a return on investment. Personally I took a lot away from this assignment as it forced us to research the pedigrees and see the types of horses the Northern Hemisphere stallions throw. Also I was lucky enough to shadow an old friend, John Kilbride (Kilbride Equine). Not only was I able to learn his ways on how to judge a horse but he also kindly introduced me to every man and his dog around the sales complex. Thanks for that John boy!
Weekly placements around the stud saw myself with the yearlings and also in Sun Chariot (pregnant mares due to foal down) as well as Night foal watch. Yearlings would be the least busiest yard at the moment as they won’t start their preparation for the sales until after the breeding season ends. In saying that, the yearling supervisor, Leona Harmon, keeps you on your toes with a laugh a minute and plenty of carrot feeding around the farm. Each yard has specific days they are mucked out (all being straw boxes) with a couple of the maintenance lads on the job to pick up all the waste and to deliver fresh straw for each stable. They are the real ‘Paddys’ of the operation, always stopping for a quick 30 minute yarn in which I would understand all of two words. Ironically their names are Mick and Paddy. You can’t get much more Irish than that! Sun Chariot keeps them busy being mucked out 3 times a week due to the mares coming into their boxes every night to foal down. Irelands beautiful weather would be the main reason behind this routine but does make sense to keep the newborn foals nice and cosy indoors. It’s also a lot easier monitoring them this way.
Katharina Irmer pictured working hard with Mick and Paddy operating the machinery.
Lectures have been in full swing in the afternoons with many high-profile guest lecturers stopping in. Lord Teddy Grimthorpe, Racing Manager of Juddmonte farm was one of these who was very down to earth and was willing to share all his secrets to success. The revolving topic around the session was of course the perfect equine athlete, Frankel. He described him as a foal with a good frame but not a standout. It took as a yearling to notice he was something special then once he was in training with a saddle on, any average man could have picked out the champion. Teddy described the mind to be his biggest asset. A hunger to win and to please everyone at each outing in which he did going unbeaten in 14 starts (10 at Gr.1 level) earning him the highest rating in the world in 2011. Enough about the wonder horse, a tip for all punters. Look out for two 2yo’s this year, Titus and Tempura (bred by Juddmonte). Ones to watch according to the Lord himself!
Gerry Duffy, General Manager of Godolphin, Ireland gave us a very useful talk on leadership and career guidance. Being a Flying Start graduate, he firmly believes in the Godolphin organisation of “building better lives through building better horses”. He was a young innovative man that had all the right aspects on being a great manager. His main goal within his job description was to challenge and support his work colleagues and to rely on his specialised managers to do their job while attempting to make their job easier. Personally I took a huge amount away from this lecture and wish every General Manager could take a few leaves out of his book! I’ve attached a link into a very interesting video he showed us that’s only five minutes. It’s called ‘start with the why’. Worth the watch, trust me.
Other lectures included Joey Cullen from Goffs, Simon Kerins from Tattersalls (Sales and Marketing director) and Henry Beeby, (INS graduate) Chief Executive of Goffs. They basically ran us through how their sales companies worked, the immense history behind both businesses and what to do to be employed by them in the future in the various sectors. They also told their own stories on how they got to where they are today. All of which had similar CV’s having travelled all around the world and covered every aspect of the industry in doing so.
Lastly, we attended the Mark O’Hanlon memorial quiz in Lord Bagnell Inn in County Carlow. A beautiful hotel that had the ability of pouring impeccable pints, making the quiz that much more enjoyable. A rough estimate of 150 people attended with all the big names in Irish breeding and racing under one roof. Our team’s performance was below par due to majority of the questions revolving round Irish jumps racing. We did have one local on our team but he was more focused on scouting out the talent around the room than helping us out! There were some international questions that I could answer but was holding an enquiry into not one question being New Zealand based.
Life in Kildare is good at the moment although I must admit it has been a challenge seeing all of my mates Snapchats and Instagram posts enjoying the warm summer back at home. Luckily the local pub, Cunningham’s always has the fire stoked and a pint of Smithwick’s waiting for me on arrival. The people I have met and connections made within those walls is astonishing. But I suppose that’s what our game is all about. It’s not what you know its who you know!
Until next month,