Student Blog from Cillian Cosgrave (IRE) & Darcy McGrath (AUS)

This week on the course, there has been a whirlwind of activity both on the farm and outside.

All the groups had to come up with a topic that they think is impacting the industry in a negative way and explain how we can change it.

On Wednesday, we all attended the “Mark O’Hanlon Quiz”, which was held in Lord Bagenal Co. Carlow where all the money raised was going towards a great cause for The Injured Jockeys Fund and Graham Lee. The eventual winners of the quiz were Ballylinch stud who had a brilliant score after the 10 rounds.

The following day, for our lecture, we got a brilliant class from Alan Creighton, who is currently the head of Environment & Nutrition for the “Irish Equine Centre”. Alan told us about the importance of biosecurity around racing yards and stud farms as diseases can spread so quickly which can have a detrimental effect on your livestock if not dealt with properly. He said that the best farms around the world keep everything so simple, which is essential and as a result tend to have the lowest rates of scour, strangles, etc.

After the lecture, it was time for “Mexican Night”, where we all headed over to the restaurant and they cooked us up a feast. The first course that arrived at the tables was quesadillas and quickly followed by a rice dish with spicy beef and a meringue to finish.

Once dinner was finished, everyone quickly got up and headed into town where we went to “The Harp” for the night and had plenty of laughs and stories about the week just gone.

It was an extremely busy week with plenty of activities and lectures along with foals coming into the world and coverings for the following year.



This week I was working in Sun Chariot yard under Claire and Tina. This yard is the main foaling yard on the stud and contains mares that are due to foal along with mares that foaled within the last 48 hours before they either leave the farm or go up to Kildare yard.

During the week we would start at 8am and check over all the mares and see if they are waxing which would be a sign that they are close to foaling. We would then let all the mares out into their paddocks then muck out their boxes, feed them then clean the yard.

With the mares that had their foals the previous night the vet would come and check them over. I found this intriguing as we saw all different cases with each foal from runny noses to foals that had difficult foaling’s.  On Thursday we were very busy as the previous night they had seven foals born which were four colts and three fillies.

Everyday a student is assigned with the role of foal watch where they would have to monitor all the mares that are in the paddocks and ensure that no mares give birth outside where they are unsupervised. The day that I was assigned to this role was on Thursday. We would walk from paddock to paddock and ensure that there are no problems throughout the day.



This week I was in Murphy’s and Minoru yard with Sean and Claire. Both of these yards hold mares that are in foal and are near their due date of foaling. Minoru is used as an isolation yard. There were mares in there from France, Germany and England. In Murphy’s yard there are 22 mares in foal to a range of stallions with the majority being Irish National Stud stallions.

My week started off with a bang last Friday night where Hayasugi a filly we bought at home from the 2022 Inglis Australian Weanling Sale, won the prestigious 2-year-old race of the Melbourne Autumn racing carnival in the Group 1 Blue Diamond stakes. She was ultra impressive once again with a terrific ride and an unbelievable training performance from Clinton McDonald.

On Wednesday evening all 28 students ventured down to Carlow for the racing quiz night at the Lord Bagenal hotel. Although it was only a quiz, I found it very informative as I come from a flat racing background and this quiz was predominantly National Hunt.

Friday morning was a day on the course that I definitely will not forget as it was one of the only times, I had seen snow. I had only been to the snow once and I will never be able to forget the feeling of my fingers feeling like they were falling off as we were mucking out the barn.

Overall this course has been the most enjoyable experience of my life to date.

Cillian low res Cillian
170124_MCGRATH1 low res McGrath
Image Darcy 2 Snow day
Image Darcy Snow angel


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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland

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