Having no real horse racing background, Roisin Whelan transitioned from the show jumping world to work for Coolmore Stud. She has recently taken up a new role with Weatherbys. This year Roisin is hoping to get involved in the buying and selling aspect of the industry.

How did you get interested and involved in bloodstock/racing?

I didn’t come from a horsey family but have been obsessed with them from an early age, I spent my childhood years tearing around on ponies, and, upon completing my secondary school education, I landed myself a job working for Cian O’Connor just outside of Frankfurt, Germany. This led to me working for the Wachman family at Coolmore Showjumping, during this time I became more aware of the thoroughbred industry right on my doorstep and of racing in general. I decided to follow my curiosity and take up a job working at Coolmore Stud. Once I had my foot in the door there was no stopping me, and my passion for racing and bloodstock grew from there.

Who helped you along the way or gave you advice?

Without a doubt, I have to say that the Dilger family in Kentucky have been massive supporters of myself and of young people in general through The Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation. I was privileged to have been granted a scholarship last year to attend the Irish National Stud Course and then to spend a couple of months in Kentucky at Spider and Aisling Duignan’s Springhouse Farm, prepping yearlings and soaking up the American way of life. The warm welcome extended to me by the Dilgers’ and the Duignans’ is a great example of the generosity and communal spirit of our industry.

What challenges/problems have you faced so far?

I don’t believe in problems but I suppose coming into racing in my late teens knowing nothing about thoroughbreds could have been viewed as a challenge, but the journey it is taking me on is one I am thoroughly enjoying!

The many facets of our industry provide constant learning opportunities whether it be foaling mares, inspecting yearlings, or simply sitting at home on the couch analyzing a day’s racing, it’s non-stop!

My latest opportunity has been taking on a role in Weatherby’s General Stud Book Department where I have been adapting to office life and immersing myself in the processing of mare and foal registrations, import and export documents, and change of ownerships. With the July 31st deadline for foal registrations fast approaching, I can be expected to be found underneath a sea of passports for the foreseeable future!

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

Get stuck in! The great thing about our industry is the broad spectrum of roles it covers, from racing to bloodstock, and everything in between, there is an opportunity for everybody to play to their strengths. Ask as many questions as you can and have a good attitude; it’ll help you land on your feet. I strongly believe that travel broadens the mind and, luckily for us, the thoroughbred industry offers this amazing opportunity in abundance, whether it be throughout Europe, over to America, or down to Australia and New Zealand, there are always jobs to be had, experience to be gathered, and in a world as small as ours, a friendly face around every corner.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months?

In the coming months, I’m hoping to take the plunge and get involved in a pinhook or two, time to put my money where my mouth is and hope for the best! I’m looking forward to getting out racing as often as possible and meeting new people, the combination of good people and better sport is hard to beat. But I suppose the main dream for the year ahead is that my trusty Corsa will hold tough and keep on the roads for another little while longer!