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Sunline International Scholarship winner Lance Forbes - Blog from Ireland

After a fantastic time in Newmarket it was time to start my next leg of the Sunline International Scholarship at the home of champions, better known as Coolmore Stud.

My time in Ireland started off by getting pulled aside by the Immigration officer at the airport, at this time I was starting to get a little worried but once he found out that I was going to work at Coolmore he just wanted to know if I was going to be working with the great Galileo and if I had any tips for the weekend! The passion the Irish people have for horse racing is second to none and no matter who you talk to in Ireland everyone knows of Coolmore.

Arriving at Coolmore I had very high expectations and it's fair to say that every single one of those expectations have been met and more. It's very hard to explain the size and the beauty of the farm, it really is a one of a kind.

My first placement was working with mares and foals and in the walk in unit. The weather was starting to warm up at this stage so a lot of the mares and foals were living outside. The mares and foals would still come in every day to be fed and have treatments if needed, in doing this everyone was able to make sure every mare and foal was getting the right amount of feed.

While I was working with the mares and foals, I was fortunate enough to take a mare to visit Invincible Spirit at the Irish National Stud who is well known in the Southern Hemisphere for being the sire of I'm Invincible. The Royal family were visiting the Irish National Stud the next day, so I wasn't really able to see much of the farm, but plan on visiting again before my time in Ireland is over.

During my second week in Ireland it was the running of the Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas and I was fortunate to attend the 2,000 Guineas.

With the Curragh under reconstruction, the attendance was limited to 6,000 people so it was a bit of a different atmosphere to Newmarket, but nevertheless it was still a fantastic day spent with a couple of good friends I worked with at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand, that are now working at Coolmore Ireland.

The Guineas weekend had the same results as Newmarket earlier in the season, with Aidan O'Brien taking out both of the G1 races with Churchill winning the 2,000 Guineas, as he did at Newmarket and Winter taking out the 1,000 Guineas, as she did in Newmarket.

Churchill and Ryan Moore after the Irish 2,000 guineas

Churchill and Ryan Moore after the Irish 2,000 guineas
My second placement in Coolmore was working in the stallion yard. Working in the stallion yard would have to be one of the highlights of my trip so far. Working with so many champion racehorses and of course the champion sire Galileo. Galileo was the champion sire in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 with 64 Gr.1 winners. One of the other standouts is the champion sire Fastnet Rock, who was Champion sire in Australia in 2011/12 & 2014/15 and is a leading sire in Australia this season. With 15 stallions in the main yard I could carry on talking about them for days.

With the Lions touring around New Zealand at the moment it's fair to say that there has been a fair bit of banter going around the farm. When the Blues were able to beat the Lions, I may have been the one dishing most of it out. I look forward to being in Ireland when the All Blacks beat the Lions, well here's hoping.

Every year Coolmore put on a BBQ to thank all of the staff. It may be called a BBQ, but it is far from it, with a live magician and a live band later on in the night. I was lucky enough to be able to have a plus one, so I invited fellow scholarship winner Cameron Ring. When Cameron arrived at the BBQ wearing the same shirt and sunglasses as myself, it was fair to say you could spot the kiwis!!. It was a great night and it was a great opportunity to meet everyone on the farm.

My time in Ireland has be a blast so far. Stay tuned for more stories from Ireland. – Lance Forbes


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