How did you get interested and involved in horses and the industry?

Like many young girls growing up in Tipp, all I wanted to do was ride ponies. I learned to ride in a riding school in Clonmel and it sort of snowballed from there. A few of the girls I went to school with were born into racing and that gave me my first taste of the industry. The Marnane family very kindly took me to a breeze-up sale with them in Saint-Cloud, when I was about 14. I remember being completely blown away by the whole experience. The idea that I could make a living working with horses was my greatest discovery (so far). A decision was made there and then.

Tell us about your role with Primus as a pedigree researcher and the type of work involved in it.

I joined the pedigree research team at Primus just over two years ago after unparalleled tutelage under Carol Palfreyman in a similar role, for Shadwell. While there is a lot of variety day to day, it is very cyclical and each part of the year has a key focus, whether it’s sales, matings, acquisitions, or any number of things. We are very lucky in that each element of the job relies heavily on understanding the industry, and so keeping up to date with racing around the world is a big part of the job. When that is something you want to do every day regardless, it makes it very interesting and ‘easy’ to work hard.

Who helped you along the way or gave you advice?

I have been lucky to work for exceptionally talented and successful people in my career. Luca Cumani taught me everything I know about riding racehorses. He nurtured my passion by giving me incredible opportunities, challenging ones, but never insurmountable, at a crucial early stage. Being part of William Haggas’ team was fascinating. You will not find a more finely tuned racing brain out there and I had a very privileged position with him. I learned a lot about what it takes to train 200 blue-blooded thoroughbreds so successfully.My time at Shadwell was probably the most career-defining. Carol taught me everything I know about pedigrees and, with Sheikh Hamdan’s blessing, took a chance on me when I was still quite green. Without her help and support, I would never have been considered for my current role at Primus and have the opportunity to work with the best in the business today. I have been very lucky since going office-based full-time, to keep honing my riding ‘skills’ with Michael Bell in Newmarket. Michael trusted me with some of his nicest fillies. I have also had the pleasure of learning from Joseph Murphy, back here in Tipp, before turning my attention to breeding. I particularly enjoy dropping into Bell’s on visits to Newmarket to ride a lot or two.

What challenges/problems have you faced so far?

I don’t have many complaints. I firmly believe that everything will work out in the end and if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end. This is a very humbling industry and you will lose more than you will win in racing, so I think it is important to just keep kicking and focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past. The saying ‘this game tames lions’ really rings true for our industry. But that is one of its endearing qualities. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to get involved in the industry professionally?

Ask questions. About everything and to everyone. Look for guidance from people you respect who have been there and done it. Surround yourself with like-minded, intelligent people. Take chances, because we learn so much more from our mistakes than our wins. It is both a beauty and a curse that there is no direct route to success in our industry, so you have to be willing to forge your own path. No matter how high or low you go, if you remember why you are doing it in the first place, for the love of horses, you’ll be okay.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months?

Hopefully, I’ll have a healthy first foal on the ground as a breeder, as I’ve got my first mare due next March. Her two-year-old half-sister is in training in France, so a nice pedigree update would be lovely too.