• Isobel Collins - Leopardstown Intern

    I can hardly believe that my summer Internship with HRI is drawing to a close. Apart from having thoroughly enjoying the experience over the last two months, it has greatly benefited me in considering a future career path.

    I have always had a keen interest in the thoroughbred industry. Growing up in a breeding and racing environment afforded me the opportunity to visit various countries and interface with likeminded people. 

    My father, Stephen Collins, General Manager for HRH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has given my family the opportunity to grow up on one of Ireland’s most prestigious and well-known stud farms, namely Derrinstown Stud. Being surrounded by top quality bloodstock and seeing how much time and effort is involved in the breeding and preparation of a champion class racehorse, generated a real interest for me. My grandfather, Sean Collins, was very much involved in the industry, apart from being a very successful Stud Farm Owner, Stallion Master, and an Equine Veterinary Surgeon, he was one of the principle founders of the Irish Equine Centre. All of this allowed me to become familiar with many aspects of the industry. Both my father and grandfather’s passion for the bloodstock and racing industry has encouraged my interest in pursuing a career in marketing and hopefully in time I will be able to further my involvement and commitment within this exciting industry.

    Leopardstown Racecourse has afforded me the opportunity to work with their single -minded team and I am very grateful to have been given this position. The hustle and bustle of the Bulmers Live Series has given me the unique experience of working within two massive industries incorporating both music and horse racing. It is difficult to fathom the amount of time and effort that goes on behind the scenes to make a successful race day and to promote a hugely engaging music event running in tandem.

     I am a third year Marketing student in DIT. The four years Honours course is intensive and covers all aspects of a business marketing environment. Using the skills from my degree course facilitates immersing myself into a practical daily working environment with office life. I have been primarily involved in the sales/hospitality sectors during my tenure at Leopardstown Racecourse. This also involved managing and selling tickets directly to clients as part of our hospitality package.

    On Thursday evening race meetings, I shadow the marketing and PR department to better understand the complexity of their roles within the organisation. However, my primary role is to look after the very important corporate hospitality sector and receive feedback from clients to make sure they were enjoying the experience and more importantly with the intention of adopting any further improvements for future race meetings.

    We have had some incredible nights at the Bulmers Live Series at the racetrack, hosting artists such as Coolio, Versatile and The Stunning and we are very much looking forward to hosting All Saints on August 15 which should be one of the biggest events of the whole series.

    One of our principal tasks at the outset of my internship was to make racing more attractive for a younger audience. Jack Linehan (also a HRI Leopardstown intern) and I are currently working on a strategy to encourage more young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to become future racing members at Leopardstown. This event will take place on August 15, the final night of the Bulmers Live Series, which will no doubt justify our efforts in applying with what we have learned during the past few months. We have run social media competitions and have also regularly posted on our various social media platforms.

    We have received a very positive response so far which is essential in attracting younger people as the future owners and supporters of Irish racing. Our industry has so much to offer and it is up to all of us to encourage people to engage positively with horse racing and to enjoy this wonderful social experience so richly engrained in Irish culture.

    A huge thank you to Pat Keogh, my supervisor Lynn McNally and her hospitality team who have taught me so much and have given me their upmost help and assistance in making my internship so enjoyable and beneficial.

    Personally, I feel it is paramount that people should partake in an internship or work experience as it will help progress their skills and knowledge. Gaining real-life experience is vital and having partaken in this year’s HRI summer internship programme, I would highly recommend that anyone who has an interest in horse racing should consider it for next year.


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