Sam is a UCD graduate and will shortly commence the Godolphin Flying Start programme

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

Growing up I was always heavily involved with horses and took part in hunting, pony club, and eventing. It wasn’t until my transition year in school that my interest in bloodstock and racing took off when doing work experience at Ballyhimikin Stud, Goffs, and riding out for Denis Hogan.

I began bid-spotting at Goffs and it took off from there. Since then, I have been exposed to multiple sides of the game, having spent time in France with the Aga Khan Studs, trainer Nicolas Clement, and Ecurie des Monceaux. In addition, I have done yearling prep and sales - both in Ireland and America - at Grangemore Stud and Fergus Galvin and Adrian Regan’s Hunter Valley Farm in Kentucky.

Since graduating from Business and Law at UCD, I worked full-time for Norman Williamson at his base in Co Meath up to the end of the breeze-up and store sale season. I have most recently completed a summer internship in London at 1783 Group – a sports and entertainment insurance brokerage.

Who helped you along the way or gave you advice?

I can honestly say that anyone I have worked for over the past few years has gone above and beyond to help out and offer advice. To know that they are only a phone call away is hugely reassuring. It really shows the true colours of our industry in that more established people in the game are so willing to help us young people out.

In particular, Norman Williamson has been a huge help to me thus far and remains to be an endless source of advice. Working alongside him for the past few years has been an invaluable education. He has given me the opportunity to be exposed to one of the most exciting and successful sides of the industry in the breeze-ups.

Irish breeze-up graduates consistently make their mark on the world stage and it is a testament to the work of the breeze-up community. They are a very close-knit community who are always willing to help out the next generation wherever they can.

What challenges/problems have you faced so far?

I have been fortunate enough not to encounter too many problems on a personal level so far. However, I ultimately plan on having an operation of my own in time and I do foresee the industry-wide staffing crisis being an issue in the future, particularly in terms of staffing at sales.

I have found that around sales season almost everyone is frantically searching for ‘show’ people and I think that search is only going to become more frantic as years go on. I have worked with some of the most talented horse people in sales, however, there seems to be far fewer young people coming onto the sales circuit which is a challenge the industry will need to try to address over the coming months and years.

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

I suppose there are so many hugely successful people in our industry that are arguably icons of the game and I think it’s important for us, as young people, to try to take a step back, analyse and ask ‘what are they doing that is making them so successful and how did they get to where they are?’ From here, it is then possible to see what job opportunities lie with a particular person or outfit.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months?

I am due to start the Godolphin Flying Start programme next week so I hope to learn as much as possible and make plenty of new contacts over the two years. I have a few yearlings and NH stores yet to sell over the next 12 months, so fingers crossed they return a nice profit as well as being successful on the track! I plan on keeping the wheels rolling with the buying and selling of stock over the next few years so that I can hopefully leave myself in a good position on completing the course in 2025.