THE northern region of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association hosted an informative open breeders’ evening in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast last Thursday week (January 12th) at which regional breeders’ successes, both flat and National Hunt, were also acknowledged.

Una Tormey, the ITBA’s chief executive, introduced the evening, highlighting the need for such open breeders’ meetings, noting this was the third such event in recent months.

ITBA Northern Region chairman Dean Harron then updated those in attendance on the ongoing work the ITBA is undertaking, including igniting regional activity and engagement. He encouraged breeders to get involved with the ITBA and communicate regularly with the organisation.

Attendees heard from Irish Thoroughbred Marketing’s CEO Charles O’Neill on the success of the IRE Incentive scheme to date and the importance of the scheme to the Irish sales market.

He talked through the success of Irish sales in 2021 and the works undertaken by ITM to ensure overseas buyers remain a constant presence at Irish sales.

Equine Centre

Head of Environment & Nutrition with the Irish Equine Centre, Alan Creighton discussed the services the IEC offer to breeders and ongoing measures breeders should undertake to ensure farm hygiene and best practices on stud farms.

He drew attention to the Farm Hygiene Package currently on offer to ITBA members. Details can be found on the ITBA website or by contacting the IEC directly on 045-866 266. Pedigree Research Manager with Weatherbys, Michelle Fogarty talked breeders through the ePassport concept and also the 30-day foal notification process and encouraged breeders to comply with this in 2023.

Attendees also heard from chief veterinary officer Robert Huey who touched on topics such as the importance of flu vaccinations and using the IEC services to test where there are concerns. He also discussed plans to introduce an equine premises registration in Northern Ireland system, similar to that in the Republic.

ITBA chairman Cathy Grassick closed the breeders’ discussion and thanked those in attendance.

She emphasised the ITBA’s continued support to the Northern region with initiatives like the annual CAFRE bursary together with the continued sponsorship of the racehorse to riding horse class at Balmoral Show. She also highlighted the need for encouraging Next Generation breeders to get involved with the Association.

Following the discussion regional chair Dean Harron acknowledged the success of northern region breeders who bred blacktype or graded winners and presented awards to attendees celebrating their recent success at home and abroad.


NH WINNER: Battleoverdoyen, bred by Berry Farms. Award accepted by Caroline and Christopher Berry.

LEADING NH MARE: Jeremys Flame, bred by Mrs A. Kirkwood. Award accepted by Nigel Kirkwood.

LEADING NH OWNER/BREEDER: Mrs P.J. Conway for Delvino and Santa Rossa. Award accepted by Jarlath Conway.

2021 2YO WINNER: El Bodegon, bred by Cecil and Martin McCracken. Award accepted by Martin, Isobel and Maisie McCracken.

2021 3YO WINNER: The Highway Rat, bred by Honeypig Stud. Award accepted by Andy Oliver.

2021 OLDER HORSE: Pogo, bred by Thomas Foy.

2021 OVERSEAS HORSE: Rumbles Of Thunder, bred by Francis Killen.