• Brian Donohoe - HRI Racing Intern

    I cannot pinpoint exactly how or when I developed my interest in racing, but I think that growing up in Kildare may be to blame. Plenty of the locals will tell you that it is harder to avoid racing than it is to become engrossed by it. I ended up going down the latter route and took the plunge by enrolling in Equine Business in Maynooth University, with the hope of merging my interests in business with my passion for racing. With my future career path in mind, I decided to apply for the HRI Summer Internship Programme. Having absolutely no racing connections and armed with little other than a huge passion for the industry, I was thrilled to get a phone call back in May offering me the position of Racing Department Intern. The internship is three months in total, and it is hard to believe how fast the first two months have gone.

    Our Internship commenced with a trip to the Irish National Stud. This trip made me realise how much I take for granted the fact that there are such influential stallions and iconic racehorses right at my doorstep. It was great to see some of the ‘Living Legends’, such as Beef Or Salmon, who brought back great memories from when I began to gain an interest in the sport. A lot of young people pick up an interest in racing through riding horses, but I got into it by reading about them. I have always enjoyed the process of looking back upon the greats of the game, picking apart their racing careers and pedigrees. The stories behind the horses, such as the rags to riches tale of Beef Or Salmon, have always captivated my imagination. I remember reading about how his sire Cajetano was on the island of Sardinia covering show jumping mares by the time Beef Or Salmon’s racing career began to hit its stride. The million-dollar question these days seems to be how to get young people interested in racing. I really do believe that stories like this need to be told. They may just be the forgotten element to capturing young people’s imagination.

    The daydreaming about Beef Or Salmon was put on hold while I got to grips with my new job and was introduced to my new colleagues the following day. The racing department team have been incredibly easy to join, and with everyone willing to give you their time to answer questions or give a hand with whatever needs to be done, I have really felt my knowledge expanding and my confidence growing.

    The racing department consists of five sub-sections; registrations, entries and declarations, race planning, publications and racecourse services.  It has been great to have been given the opportunity to work in numerous different sections depending on how busy it is, but for the most part I have been situated in publications. A typical day in publications begins with updating the previous day’s results and proof reading before these results are recorded. Once declarations are closed at 10am for the following days racing, a final copy of runners is produced and sent to the printers, the racecourse and various media outlets. At 12pm, final declarations are made with jockeys on board, and once again, this information is sent out. I am grateful for the responsibilities granted to me in the publications department. It is great to play a role in the massive effort required to hold a race meeting, and with more and more responsibilities afforded as the weeks have gone on, I have gained a fantastically in-depth knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes of the racing world.

    There is a real buzz within the racing department, with so many knowledgeable and passionate people involved. It is great to arrive into the office on a Monday morning and get to engage in conversations about the weekends racing or whatever the current topic of discussion may be. Being part of the conversation from within the engine room of racing in Ireland has given me an entirely different perspective on many things.

    Having been given the fantastic opportunity to work at HRI, I know for sure that I won’t be straying too far from racing in my future career path.  Ultimately, I would like a job that gives me the chance to make a positive impact on the industry, and this has been a massive step forward in that direction.