THE unseasonal weather couldn’t dampen the atmosphere at the Irish National Stud (INS) in Tully as parents and guests arrived on Tuesday for the graduation ceremony of the class of 2022. Indeed, the sun tried to shine on the venue as the future leaders of the equine world were learning their fate.

Since 1971, the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Breeding Management Course has hosted students from all over the world. This year was no exception as 30 students from seven countries were awarded their certificates at the Co Kildare venue.

Before the formalities began, guests were treated to a stallion parade before enjoying a tour of the Irish Racehorse Experience. The ceremony commenced with an address from INS chairman Matt Dempsey, followed by an inspiring and encouraging speech from CEO Cathal Beale.

Dempsey said: “When we look at this year’s graduating class, and their predecessors over the last 51 years since the course was established, we see names that are among the most illustrious in the racing, breeding and training worlds.

“It is easy to overlook just how internationally credible the Irish bloodstock sector is. Today our thoroughbred breeding industry is as big as that of France and Britain combined. I want to congratulate today’s graduates and their parents and guardians.


“I want to pay tribute to Anne Channon for running the course over the last six months and to acknowledge her work in getting the course officially recognised as an integral part of the Irish educational award system. This is a ladder we hope to continue to climb as official recognition becomes increasingly important.”

Cathal Beale thanked the many people whose time and effort helps to make the course such a success. He concluded his talk with praise for the participants and some words of advice. He said: “To the students, I say thank you for your dedication, energy, curiosity, hard work and sense of fun. It has been a real privilege for me to get to know you and watch you develop over the six months.

“My message to you all is a simple one. Remember to take your time and enjoy the ascent. The position you want, the responsibility, will eventually find you, if you do the simple things well. Work hard, be respectful. Open your ears and your minds to new opportunities. They are everywhere if you look for them. And always remember there is only one way to eat an elephant; a bite at a time!”

Lasting memories

Students Anna Cahill and Alex Sausville spoke of the lasting memories and friendships that were made during the six months at the stud.

They thanked staff, lecturers, guest speakers who generously shared their knowledge with the group, and a big mention went to the various stud farms, training facilities and racecourses that hosted the students on their industry site visits.

Gold and silver medals are awarded to the top two students, and this year the prestigious gold was presented to Cork’s Theresa O’Donoghue, who demonstrated an outstanding performance in all aspects of the course, with the silver being awarded to Alexander Sausville from the USA. The gold medal winner received a tumultuous standing ovation when her name was called.

The INS Jonathan Fitzpatrick Internship was awarded to Freddie Morley from Newmarket, England, and he will commence his internship at Tully later this month. The CEO award for the highest score in the equine business examination went to Mathilde Baurens from France, while the continuous assessment award was won by Britain’s Hayley Ashcroft.

Blue hen

Annie O’Rourke from Newmarket was the recipient of The Irish Field Blue Hen Award. She was presented with a prize of €250 and a trophy by Leo Powell for her winning article which is published in this week’s Breeding Insights column. Other awards were presented to Rachel Harvey, England for the best portfolio of assignments, Annie O’Rourke won the Dr Sieglinde McGee award, while Freddie Morley earned the veterinary award.

Two new awards were presented this year. The Goffs Internship was awarded to Jack Blake, Laois, while the ITBA Next Generation Award went to Anna Cahill, Kildare