Time Flies When You Are Having Fun - Bevan's Latest Blog


They say time flies when you are having fun and that old adage couldn't ring truer when applied to my time in Ireland on the Sunline Scholarship.

It is hard for me to believe that my time at Coolmore Ireland has already come to an end even as I look forward to the next stop in Kentucky.

I can say that I have experienced an Irish summer – all three weeks of it. My first month in the Emerald Isle was near perfect weather. Sadly, I haven't seen much of my old friend the sun since. I thought the locals were just joking when they said their summer lasts a matter of weeks. They weren't.

The weather however didn't dampen my enjoyment.

When I last wrote a blog I had just started working in the Stallion Yard. I had another couple of weeks experience working there.

It was almost surreal going into work every morning and the first horse I would see was the world's greatest stallion – Galileo. He is an absolute gentleman and always looks a million dollars for the numerous visitors that he has.

Coolmore show amazing hospitality and allow visitors to come through the farm and visit these accomplished stallions. It is nearing the end of the breeding season and a lot of the visitors are more tourists than breeders looking for a stallion to cover their mare. It doesn't matter the stature or standing of the person wanting to come visit, Coolmore welcomes everyone. There has actually been a number of Kiwis come through the farm in the past couple of weeks and it has been nice to see some familiar faces.

I often got to bring in Fastnet Rock from his paddock and give him a groom. He is such an influential sire down under and it has been a privilege to work with such talented stallions.

The breeding shed is run very professionally with staff split up into teams; one for the teasing shed/preparation of the mare, another team handling the mare for cover and a final team of stallion handlers. Everyone knows their roles and every measure is taken to ensure a safe covering, keeping the stallions and mares protected.

The horses travelling to New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season headed off to quarantine. This year Power is again shuttling to Cambridge Stud while Pour Moi returns to Windsor Park Stud. Both are big chances to make it as sires with the latter already proving his worth with Sacred Elixir winning a Group 1 from his first crop to race.

Quarantine for stallions is a very big deal with each facility having to meet a high standard. Coolmore have a couple of their own quarantine facilities with their Fairy King facility the highest rated quarantine facility in the world.

For my last two weeks of my Irish leg I have been based at Primus, the marketing agency for Coolmore. This is where all of Coolmore's marketing worldwide is produced. All Australian and American marketing activities are run through Primus in Ireland.

I have found this particularly interesting coming from my background at New Zealand Bloodstock. It is fascinating to see the due diligence that goes into everything from creating an advert to prospecting potential stallions – though not too dissimilar from the approach at NZB.

One of the main tasks I was assigned was researching stallion prospects by studying their form, finding news articles regarding the subject horse and looking at the credentials of their sires.

Now I can't go spilling any of Coolmore's secrets but I will be very interested to see their stallion roster in the coming years and see if any of the young, up–and- coming racehorses make it to stud.

I attended another major race day at the Curragh, and this time I witnessed the Group 1 Irish Derby. I was lucky enough to be at the Curragh for the Irish 1000 & 2000 Guineas in May and thankfully they let me back on the racecourse! The day turned into a bit of a Kiwi reunion as I ran into a few mates from home that were enjoying a great day of Irish racing.

The big race was won by Harzand, raced by His Highness the Aga Khan and trained by the legend that is Dermot Weld. Harzand is by Sea The Stars, a great racehorse who is quickly becoming the real deal as a sire. The win gave the horse the Epsom Derby/Irish Derby double, the 18th colt to win both races.

My experience here in Ireland has been made all the better by the people I have met. Be it the lads I have worked with on the farm, to all the people that I have met at the races or out and about. I have made friends for life and valuable contacts that I hope to be able to utilise in the future.

I can't stress enough how much better my trip has been because of the people I have met. While it is an honour to work with some of the best horses in the world I have been reminded that there are also outstanding people involved our great industry.

Now I look forward to Kentucky and Taylor Made Farms. It should be a completely different experience to that that I have had in the UK and Ireland, not only because I will actually get to see the sun but I am going head first in to the yearling sales season. I am sure it will bring more challenges and learning curves that I am excited about that.

Ireland, you have been grand. I have had a gas time and the craic has been great. I will see you again one day. Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye. - Bevan Smith


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