Another busy month has gone by with plenty of stud work and assignments being completed.
Spring has well and truly turned up now, the weather is starting to get warmer and the days are getting longer. The horses are enjoying the lush spring grass that grows so well here due to the farms’ exceptional soil fertility.
Like New Zealand, Ireland is similar in the weather. It can change in a blink of an eye. Sunny and warm one day and sleety snow falling the next, it can be very cold.
It has been a very busy six weeks and we have crossed over the 200 mares foaled here in the foaling unit. As I am on nights this week there are plenty of mares ready to foal so we're keeping a close eye on them, checking them every 15 minutes during the night.
Placements this month around the stud include working in Blandford (mares and foals), Maddenstown (dry mares), the foaling unit (mares in foal) and night watch (foaling). I am enjoying working in all of the yards and it has been busy wherever you go.
A variation of duties ensure your weeks are not repetitive and are covering all corners of the farm.
When I was at Blandford yard I was fortunate enough to take three mares for cover to outside stallions.
I was went to Kildangan Stud, Godolphin’s Ireland-based farm, and was lucky enough to see superstar racehorses in Blue Point (Shamardal) and Haunui farm’s very own shuttle stallion Ribchester (Iffraaj).
I also got to take a trip down to Gilltown at the Aga Khan Stud to take a mare to see Sea The Stars, this regally bred son of Cape Cross is out of blue hen mare in Urban Sea who had also produced champion racehorse and sire in Galileo.
Maddenstown is starting to quiet down now with nearly every mare down there covered and living out in paddocks. They are only brought up to be scanned to confirm pregnancies.
The foaling unit it is still busy with foals coming from left right and center. It is a good yard to learn about young foals as you can watch them develop over their first week and it is very interesting learning when vet intervention is required.
The extremely popular National Hunt Cheltenham Festival in England is held during March. The second largest jumps meeting of the year in terms of prize money, to none other than the Grand National. I would say Cheltenham is the most talked about week for many jumps racing enthusiasts in Europe due to several Grade 1 races run over the 16th-19th of March (Tuesday to Friday).
The Irish lads within the course certainly would let you know how many days, and counting, it is until it starts. To make things more exciting we held a sweepstake for every race of each day. I somehow won the sweepstake, much to the jumps racing enthusiasts’ disgust. I can tell you there were some unhappy people that put a lot of time into their selections!
Over the weekend there was the final big week of jumps racing with the Grand National being run, what a race to watch. It had some top-class runners in it and there were some unreal jumpers, and it was a special finish.
Rounding out my jump racing focus, I would just like to say how good of a rider Rachael Blackmore is. To do what she did in a month is unbelievable, to nearly clean sweep all the feature jumps races at Cheltenham and to win the Grand Nation is quite unreal and it just shows hard work pays off.
Lectures have continued like normal with guest lectures from Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby, Irish National Stud’s very own CEO Cathal Beale and Patrick Diamond from Nominations. We were also able to learn from vets Kevin and Jennifer Corley, Claire Hawkes and from equine nutritionist Joanne Hurley.
Till next time,