Stud 5

Visting the Irish National Stud

4th July 2024

A primary aim of owning with Hambleton is of course to provide success on the racecourse, but we also take great pride in offering owners the chance to see behind the scenes of the industry.

Our owners have visited some of the most powerful bloodstock operations in Europe over the years and we were delighted to offer the chance to visit the beautiful Irish National Stud on Wednesday.

You’d struggle to find a more serene environment for breeding horses than the well-manicured, beautiful 800-acre setting in Tully, County Kildare.

Last year’s visit to see the formidable Dubawi was always going to be hard to match, but owners joining us were treated to an up close and personal encounter with all the stud has to offer.

Colonel William Hall Walker, a firm believer in the power of astrology, established the stud in 1900. He was convinced that a horse’s birth date could actually determine their ability on the track.

Sea the Stars, foaled at the stud, is believed to of been named to recognise what Colonel Walker achieved in gaining the National Stud the prominence and prestige it holds today in the world of thoroughbred breeding. The purple and yellow colours of his famous silks can be seen throughout the flower beds close to the stallion boxes as a fitting tribute to the great horse.

Our excellent tour guide David, the main Stud Manager no less, made sure this was a wonderful experience for owners, offering the perfect blend of knowledge and humour, ensuring everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

As the tour began, our first port of call was the stallion boxes as David explained how the largescale breeding operation is managed.

Next up it was down to the stallion walk to see the impressive stallions out in their secure paddocks, including Invincible Spirit himself.

Super sire Invincible Spirit is an amazing looking specimen by Green Desert. He is a world leading sire, having sired numerous Group 1 winners. At the grand old age of 27 his services are still very much in fair demand.

Phoenix Of Spain, a stunning grey, was another to take the eye down the tree-lined walkway and David outlined just how big an impact his offspring are having, with recent Royal Ascot winner Haatem, helping fuel his growing book of mares for next year.

From here the tour took the owners towards the mare and foal paddocks, with the youngsters clearly enjoying their time in the vast paddocks. With over 300 individuals foaled there this year, it can be very a busy time for the stud, who can have as many as five or six foals arrive each night.

A tour of the mares scanning area proved particularly interesting, as David explained how the scanning process works for ensuring that the mare is ready to be covered.

Beyond the stars of the future we were greeted by the stars of yesteryear, the living legends. These retired stars of the past were keen to come and see the owners for some much-enjoyed attention.

Multiple Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly may be small in stature but he certainly commanded plenty of attention, putting on quite the show as he and multiple Grade 1 winner Faugheen showed off their wellbeing.

It is wonderful to see the older horses happily grazing with one another and living out their days at the stud after giving so much in their careers.

Final pitstop at the stud was a brand-new interactive experience that rounded off the tour perfectly as owners got to purchase, name and opt who and how to train their own racehorse before designing silks and taking to the saddle for an interactive race.

This certainly creates quite the spectacle with Julie successful aboard her stead, swooping from out wide in the final furlong to secure victory!

As the tour finished lunch was served in the bright and airy café with a generous selection of fresh food and drink to choose from. Much of the chat over the delicious lunch focused on what had been such an enjoyable and insightful visit.

For the afternoon owners were welcome to explore all the stud has to offer at their own pace and many headed off for the stunning Japanese Gardens and tranquil St. Fiachra’s Garden which attract many visitors throughout the year.

For those who managed to get over to Ireland there was certainly plenty to feast their eyes on at this impeccably clean yet relaxed stud, where the staff could not do enough to make us welcome and our visit enjoyable.

Owners certainly enjoyed this thoroughly insightful look into the workings of one of Europe’s top studs.

We’d like to take this chance to thank the Irish National Stud for a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

Our thinking caps are now on to ensure our next visit can be equally as enjoyable.

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