Charles Shanahan has a great racing pedigree. His dad Paul is a very well-known figure in Irish racing and bloodstock, while his mum Linda is a daughter of former trainer Michael Cunningham.
Charles’ biggest success to date was a filly he bred by No Nay Never named Singforthemoment, who won a listed race in Bordeaux.
How did you get interested and involved in bloodstock/breeding?
I come from a stud farm background. My dad has a stud farm in Tipperary. We mainly prep yearlings for sales. That is how I got into it initially. From a young age, I got very interested, particularly in the sales element. I always had a big interest in racing as well. I loved going racing especially when my dad had runners. I was always working at weekends at home, learning the business, learning how to handle horses and lunge horses.
Who helped you along the way or gave you advice?
My dad’s stud manager, Tony O’Dwyer, taught me everything. He has been a huge influence on me. He taught me about the business side of things as well as teaching me about horse care and management, what was needed to run a stud, basically, I learned everything from him. Ciaran ‘Flash’ Conroy has also been a tremendous help to me. I have learned from him how to judge a horse, how to buy a foal, and how to look at pedigrees. Ciaran taught me all that kind of stuff.
And when you are buying a horse is there anything in particular that you look out for?
Physically, I like a horse to be a good mover. I like a horse with a bit of size and scope. I like a proven stallion. I try and go for a third-season stallion. I will take a chance on a first-season stallion though. I love seeing how they progress as two-year-olds.
What challenges/problems have you faced so far?
Not really any personal challenges but just from an industry point of view, I have found that it is very hard to try and get young people involved in the game nowadays. There is definitely a shortage of younger people going into the business. I have noticed that a lot of my friends who would have come from racing backgrounds are going down an alternative career route, which is fine but if it was 20 years ago, all of them would have probably pursued a horse racing career. I think it is important we make the industry more appealing for young people to get involved in.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to get involved in the industry professionally?
I suppose it all depends on what aspect of the game you are looking to get involved with. If I need a bit of advice or some help, I always try and go to the most experienced people that I can. Lads that have been in the game for decades and that have been through the highs and lows of it. I definitely think that it’s also a good idea to travel. Go to Australia and America when you are young. That way you can see how things are done in other countries and you can bring that info back with you when you come back to settle in here.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
My main goal is to sell my own yearlings over the next couple of months. I will hopefully buy some more stock in the upcoming sales closer to Christmas. Hopefully, I keep building and making the future for myself solid over the next few months.