• Jill O'Brien

    LEOPARDSTOWN RACECOURSE INTERN

    My inherent passion for horse racing stems from my childhood and strong family ties within the industry. My parents own Drommahane Point-to-Point track, so I've always been actively involved in organising and working on the day-to-day operations of race meetings. My childhood interest developed in my teenage years when I worked in sales at Cork Racecourse. Last year, I was very fortunate to work with p2p.ie and the Racing Post, where I gained invaluable experience from both of these reputable companies.

    I have just completed my degree in Communication Studies at DCU after pursuing my first degree in Economics and Geography at UCC. I applied for the internship because I felt that it was the perfect opportunity for me to combine my passion, my practical knowledge and my academic skills to further develop my career as a horse racing professional.

    I am now in my fourth week at Leopardstown, and I am thoroughly enjoying the different tasks and responsibilities that I encounter on a daily basis.

    All of the staff are very friendly and do their jobs incredibly well. I work alongside Siobhan Warfield-Beattie and Ana-Mari Crotty (Leopardstown Marketing Team) and assist with media monitoring, promotion of the Bulmers Live at Leopardstown acts, along with the maintenance and development of all social media platforms.

    I have been assigned to developing and promoting the 'Dare To Be Different' Style Awards this summer. Each week, we welcome a celebrity judge to select the winner and I work closely with them on the day, promoting Irish fashion via social media.

    In addition, I help organise competitions run through social media, the press and radio stations, to win tickets to Bulmers Live at Leopardstown. We also include premium prizes which involve a 'Meet and Greet' with the music act of the week. Ana-Mari and I accompany these lucky fans to the musicians' penthouse. Afterwards, we do an interview with the band, using an app called Periscope, which Live Streams it worldwide. We also give them a free TOTE bet worth €25, to create more excitement on the day, with winning proceeds going to a charity of their choice.

    Each week, I compile a newsletter which is sent to over 20,000 people, and compose a press release for the media in advance. I have developed vast skills in written, oral and multimedia expression - all critical to working in marketing and public relations; areas which I have a significant interest in.

    On Bulmers Live at Leopardstown racedays, we start work at 9am and usually don't finish until after 10pm. However, the long days do not exhaust me, as I relish in being able to watch top-class racing, assist with the style awards and after, appreciate a live concert from some of Ireland's hottest acts.

    I love being on the go all day, swiftly updating our social media with race results, and attaching pictures of joyful scenes in the parade ring.

    I am currently working on developing the social media platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Snapchat and Storify to increase followers, likes and views, and above all grow sales. I set up a Snapchat account for Leopardstown Racecourse as I felt that this app would be beneficial in promoting the festival, allowing followers to view videos from the concert and entice others to come along.

    On Fridays, I write a blog on the success of the previous night's Bulmers Live at Leopardstown through an app called Storify. It enables me to search the relevant hashtags and gather all the social media information about the night.

    Working with social media channels has allowed me to develop and deliver marketing strategies to corporate and consumer markets. I have also gained significant experience in liaising with media publications, in issues regarding editorial and advertising.

    Ciaran Conroy, Siobhan, Ana-Mari and all the team at Leopardstown have given me ample opportunities to grow and develop experience in all areas of marketing and events. I would highly recommend to students to apply for this internship next year.  

    On a final note, I am extremely grateful to Horse Racing Ireland for giving me this incredible opportunity. I am very excited about my future career and I plan to continue to work in the industry that I adore.

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