Sunline Trust International Management Scholarship winner Sam Bergerson provides an update:
Another month has flown by here at Coolmore and I am nearly on to the last leg of the journey.
Crazy to think how fast it is going. I’ve been working with the stallions for the last month or so which has been an awesome experience. To work with some of the best racehorses and sires in the world has been unbelievable and I owe a lot to Tony and the stallion lads for the opportunity.
It may sound funny to people that don’t work with horses but there is a definite buzz in handling a top-class thoroughbred. They have a certain presence about them and definitely know they are special.
It’s hard to pick a favourite out of the 14 here on the main farm, as they have all have their own quirks or traits, but if I did have to choose it would probably be Caravaggio. A real gentleman and absolutely stunning to look at. He certainly gains a lot of admirers from the many visitors we get throughout the days.
Heading the list of the stellar Coolmore Stallion roster is Galileo - the greatest sire in the world. At the time of writing this he has just sired his 79th Group One winner and completed a 1-2-3 in the Irish Derby.
In the English equivalent he managed to feature in all 13 runners’ pedigrees in some form. Incredible really.
Seven of the Coolmore stallions are heading to Australia (as well as U S Navy Flag heading to New Zealand) and have now entered their 3-week quarantine period before they embark on the long journey to the Southern Hemisphere.
Coolmore operate their own quarantine facility about 10 minutes from the main farm. I was lucky enough to be able to check out the property and go through all the procedures the horses and staff have to undertake. There are some very strict protocols that’s for sure.
In the afternoons I have been heading off to Primus - the marketing and bloodstock agency for Coolmore. Another eye-opening experience and one I learnt plenty from in my short time there.
I was given various small research projects which could have included some form of pedigree analysis, or researching the comparative statistics of certain stallions and how their progeny had performed at different stages of their career.
A stud tour was organised in June for any staff who wished to attend, of three major studs around Kildare - Gilltown, Irish National Stud and Kildangan Stud.
First up was Gilltown - the Aga Khan’s public stud. The highlight here being able to see Champion racehorse and now very successful sire - Sea The Stars. He won six consecutive Group One’s in six months including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, as a three-year-old.
Next up was the Irish National Stud for lunch and a tour of their picturesque facilities. The National Stud has become one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland with over 100,000 visitors every year. It is also home to the best-known equine breeding course in the world - which the NZTBA currently offers a scholarship for each year. The main highlight here was seeing Invincible Spirit - a top-class sire of sprinters and milers.
Last but certainly not least for the tour was Kildangan Stud - home to Darley’s Irish based stallions and the main breaking and training centre for the majority of Godolphin’s yearlings. We were met with another impressive line-up of stallions headed by Shamardal and Exceed and Excel, along with world-class facilities.
On the social front the annual Coolmore barbeque was held in the middle of June. It’s definitely not your typical barbeque, with well over 1000 people attending, live music and entertainment.
There is also a family day during the afternoon with plenty of activities for everyone.
It was great to catch up with lots of different people from both Coolmore and
Ballydoyle. I also attended the Irish Derby at the Curragh on my last weekend in Ireland. An awesome occasion and atmosphere, and as mentioned earlier, another fantastic result for Galileo.
It is pretty sad to be leaving Ireland (again), and the great people I've met both times I’ve been here. I'm a firm believer in ‘the people make the place’ and I don’t think you can get any better than the Irish.
Ireland is also very similar to NZ which is why I’ve probably loved it here. The team at Coolmore have been so accommodating and have given me loads of opportunities. I can’t thank everyone who has been a part of my time here enough for their help along the way.