Keith and Faith Equine Scholarship winner Ryan Stacey provides and update on his time at the Irish National Stud.
As April passes by, the sun has finally been gracing us with its presence, brightening up not just the sky but everyone's mood.
The trees are blossoming and the tourists have been coming through the stud in big numbers.
With the foaling season slowly winding down, the stud also welcomed its 200th new-born foal of the breeding season. Those in the foaling unit having a celebratory drink for the occasion. It’s quite satisfying for that achievement to arrive after all the countless hours that us students and staff have put in during the day and also through the dark and mostly freezing nights.
I have also been lucky enough to travel with a mare for an outside cover to the Aga Khan's
Gilltown stud. The mare was being covered by Sea The Stars, the sire of such stallions as Stradavarius and Harzand to name a few. The striking son of Cape Cross out of Urban Sea (dam of four G1 winners) won six consecutive Gr.1 races in six months as a 3yo and it’s not hard to see why by the way he presents himself, a real equine athlete. In 2019, he commands a service fee of around $230,000 NZD.
There have been a few more site visits this month with the yards starting to get less busy. These have included an exclusive tour of every part of the new facilities and stands at the Curragh Racecourse before its opening on Monday 6th May. I had not seen it before the upgrade but the new facilities look state of the art and as modern looking as it can get. The Irish lads have told me it’s a hell of an upgrade to what it used to be.
Another visit has included a very informative trip to Troy Town Abbey Vets where we were given a tour of their facilities and shown the only equine MRI Scanner in Ireland. We also got to sit in and watch a live castration (gelding operation).
My interests have been elsewhere this month though, as the Karaka May sales are just around the corner. A sale for vendors to showcase their weanlings by new first season sires, going through the ring for the first time. It must be nervous but also an exciting time for stud farms around New Zealand showing off their new stock. I may be sounding biased, but I am personally looking forward to the weanlings being sold by Brighthill Farm's resident four-time G1 winning son of Zabeel, Preferment.
After foaling them yourself then seeing them grow into what they are today because of the amount of effort, care and time put in, you have a completely different understanding of the satisfaction as they go through the ring and the hammer drops.
With loads more visits and trips set for next month, there will be plenty to cover for my next blog.