Having now finished my time at Coolmore and moved on to my following placements, I think that it is a good time to update you on what I have been up to in the past few weeks.
After finishing up at Coolmore and thanking everyone for the opportunities they gave me to move around the farm and see a lot of what Coolmore has to offer, I flew straight to the UK to join the team at Weatherbys.
Before arriving at Weatherbys, I got to spend a day at Royal Ascot. The Ascot racecourse is just so impressive by how big it is. The only thing I could compare it to would be an Airport. It was amazing to see thousands of people dressed up following a very strict dress code to come watch some world-class thoroughbred racing. It was also amazing to see the show that is put on from before the racing starts, with the arrival of King Charles, to the after parties that go on within the racecourse following the end of the racing day.
It has been very interesting to spend a few weeks at Weatherbys, and to learn about a lot of what goes on behind the scenes of the thoroughbred industry. Indeed, Weatherbys works very closely with the British Horseracing Authority and deals with much administrative work to keep on top of our industry. Some of the tasks Weatherbys does include the issuing of horse passports, which is mandatory in Europe, as well as the keeping of the Stud Book and the designing and printing of racecards for all of the UK racecourses and some Irish ones. They are also in charge of checking entries and declarations for all the UK-based races. On top of these tasks, Weatherbys also holds and provides pedigrees for most of the major sales in Europe, such as the Tattersalls Sales, and the Goffs Sales, but also the German Sales and the Osarus Sales based in France. They also publish their registry of stallions each year, as well as putting together private publications such as private stud book for His Highness the Aga Khan or the Royal Family, amongst others.
On top of the previous missions, Weatherbys is also tasked with the distribution of prizemoney, and the billing of nominations into races. To help facilitate these flows of money, they have launched the Weatherbys private bank, where clients can be directly loaded with their earnings and debited of costs in real-time as opposed to having to wait for the once-a-month billing and pay-out dates they used to get. While I didn’t spend time in the bank, it was very interesting to get to speak to managers within the bank and understand why they felt the need to create a new bank, and understand the pros and cons of this.
While in Weatherbys, I also got to chat and learn more about horse racing insurances, as another department of Weatherbys acts as an insurance broker to facilitate the insuring of racehorses, but also insurances for trainers and racing yards. I found it very interesting to see the challenges insurances were facing and the ways in which they dealt with these.
Most of my time at Weatherbys was, however, spent in one of their newest departments, Weatherbys Digital. The aim of this department is to help some countries with building new online platforms to facilitate the record keeping of horses, as well as providing a straightforward and easy platform for breeders, owners, and trainers to perform tasks going from declaring foalings to entering a horse into a race. I notably got to work with the newly launched Bahrain Stud Book, where I helped transfer data from their old system to the new one.
Overall, I found my time at Weatherbys to be particularly helpful in discovering and understanding better everything that goes on in the background of working with racehorses. I found it very interesting to speak to passionate people in each department of this business, and to learn how each part is crucial to the smooth running of our industry. I also found it very impressive to see the number of tasks this company handles.
I have now departed Weatherbys and have arrived in Newmarket, where I will be joining a new and upcoming trainer, Kevin Philippart de Foy, for the next couple weeks. I am very excited to learn by his side as he now runs an 86-horse stable in central Newmarket, the training hub of the UK.
I look forward to updating you on what I will get up to in the next few weeks soon.