KIND weather certainly helped boost attendances at last weekend’s Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Irish Stallion Trail 2019.
This was the fifth year of the event and the organisers reported a record number of registrations from members of the public interested in visiting some of the 28 stud farms which opened their gates over the two days.
All over the country stallion owners provided a warm welcome for old friends and new faces.
Kildangan Stud booked a Rumbles catering truck to feed visitors (and there was even a vegetarian option!) while coffee and hot chocolate was served on arrival. Children were offered the old reliables of crisps and chocolate!
In nearby Kilcullen Michael Hickey was kept extremely busy showing off Doyen, Lucky Speed and new arrival Casamento. No doubt, the recent Grade 1 win by Battleoverdoyen was a help. “It was non-stop from 11am to 3.45pm,” reported Michael.
Maurice Burns of Rathasker Stud in Naas said: “We had a constant flow of visitors, including old customers, new customers, and racing fans. The Trail is a great way for us to promote the stud and we also sold nominations to our stallions, which really makes it all worthwhile.”
Gilltown Stud looked magnificent in the winter sunshine on Friday.
Not only were Sea The Stars and Harzand shining, but the hospitality was once again five-star. Natalie Collins and her husband Hubert were serving Guinness stew and fabulous chocolate brownies. Many a New Year’s resolution went out the window!
At Clonfield Stud in Enfield, Robert Honner and his wife are on high alert as they are expecting their first child in three weeks’ time. Thankfully Micheál Orlandi of Compas Stallions was around over the weekend to help give out tea cakes and talk to visitors about new stallions Kuroshio and Smooth Daddy.
Micheál was splitting his time between Clongiffen and Bridge House Stud, where My Dream Boat stands under the Compas banner.
William and John Flood said they really enjoyed the opportunity to show Kalanisi, Mount Nelson, Court Cave and Califet to visitors. Their stallion handler John O’Connell is nursing a broken leg, and so the Stallion Trail was a big test for his 18-year-old assistant Oisin Browne from Co Louth.
Paul Croke of the Irish National Stud reported the number of visitors to be up on previous years, especially on Saturday. Guests were offered refreshments in the classroom.
Visitors to Ballylinch Stud in Thomastown are always spoiled. Once home to The Tetrarch, who was stabled on three feet of golden straw, Ballylinch is over 100 years old and improving with age.
Again, Mount Juliet looked after the food at Ballylinch and it was an ideal spot to draw breath before dashing on to the next farm.
Plenty on the ‘Trail’ went from Ballylinch to Fermoy, to see Rathbarry Stud and Castlehyde.
Niamh Woods of Rathbarry reported: “We had a steady flow on Friday and then we were flat-out on Saturday.
“Our National Hunt stallions in Glenview were on show too. Quite a few genuine breeders came to visit, including some we hadn’t met before.
“It was great to chat to them, and the feedback was good.”
Alex Cairns, marketing executive at ITM, was delighted with the overall response to the event. “The positive feedback we have received has been a huge source of satisfaction. ITM would like to thank all breeders, racing professionals, media, and fans who supported it.
“We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the 28 farms that so generously opened their doors to showcase Irish thoroughbred breeding.”