• Sarah Dempsey - Tote Intern

    As I reflect on what has been a truly incredible week at the Galway Festival, I acknowledge just how privileged I am to have been chosen as one of Horse Racing Ireland’s summer interns, based with Tote Ireland. While Galway undoubtedly emerged as one of the highlights of my internship, I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences, each one of them contributing to an unforgettable summer.

    I was delighted when Lynda Reilly asked me join the on-course marketing and promotional team for the week of Galway. I had previously worked with Lynda at the Curragh racecourse so I knew that I was in for an enjoyable week. As part of the on-course team, my daily duties included dressing the racecourse areas with Tote posters and promotional material each day, and setting up the Tote areas with supplies and stationery.  Then when racing started we promoted and sold quick picks for different bet types.  

    In the run-up to Galway, the whole team worked tirelessly to ensure the week would be a success and I was fortunate to be involved in a few different projects. I attended the marketing team’s Galway planning meetings and I assisted the marketing team in projects such as the Tote promotional truck, the ‘Yay or Neigh’ game that was played live on course and social media competitions. My biggest marketing project was organising the design of the racecard for the TheTote.com Galway Plate day. I was thrilled with how it turned out and I felt a great sense of achievement to see the finished product being circulated to thousands of people at the festival. Working on track tied in greatly with my work in the office as I was able to witness first-hand what elements of the marketing plan worked and what would need to be changed in the future.

    Additionally, I assisted Brian Hayes and Garry Conlon on the operations team with training questionnaires. This was particularly interesting as it allowed me to get involved in another aspect of the business. The project developed my communication, organisation and computer skills, as I worked alongside a number of people and developed the questionnaires in time for Galway.

    The internship was the perfect opportunity for me as working in the racing industry is something I have always aspired to do. My father, Philip, is a trainer and growing up my brother, Luke, and I spent all the time we could either sitting on a horse or around horses. I applied for the internship as I wanted to gain practical experience in an area of the industry that I had previously lacked expertise in. I have done just this as the marketing team, Michael Cummins, Eamon Moran and Joe Hennessy, are extremely helpful and have taught me an invaluable amount about marketing and analytics. This will help me to focus my studies as I approach my second year of studying Commerce in UCD.

    Over the few months, we have taken part in a range of exciting experiences. Our trip to Kildangan Stud where Joe Osborne, Gerry Duffy and Clodagh Kavanagh gave presentations taught me a huge amount about how to progress and have a successful career in the industry. They embedded in us the advice to do the best possible job at the task we have been given and that is something that I took away with me and continuously strive to apply. Another equally captivating day was spent with the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association (ITBA) and Irish European Breeders’ Fund (IEBF) where Kerry Ryan and Nessa Joyce presented to us. Other interesting events included a weekend spent at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby promoting Longines Irish Champions Weekend and an evening at the RDS Dublin Horse Show promoting the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.

    Overall, the internship has proved an excellent opportunity for me to get an insight into many different aspects of the thoroughbred industry. It has allowed me to network and meet numerous contributors to the industry, as well as providing me with a set of skills and knowledge to further develop my studies and progress in my career. I would like to thank Sophie O’Hare, Claire Rushe, Brian Hayes, Lynda Reilly, Michael Cummins and the team at the Tote Ireland and Horse Racing Ireland for this fantastic opportunity.

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