• Tim Hinchion - Tote Intern

    My first introduction to horse racing was while watching ‘At The Races’ on a Sunday morning after mass with my grandfather, JJ, when I was only knee high to a grasshopper. I can vividly remember sitting in front of the fire as my grandfather looked through the card on the Irish Examiner.  He loved to have a few pound in the bumper, especially if ‘Nina’ (Carbery) was riding. 

    However, it wasn’t until I was much older that my interest really took off. In 2015 my father and a few of his friends got involved in a horse with local trainers near Macroom in Cork, Mary Hallahan and Philip O’Brien. I asked if they would mind if I came out on a Saturday morning to give a hand and the rest is history. I immediately fell in love with both the animals and the excitement of the whole horse racing game. The horses themselves really captured my imagination and there is a lot to be said for trying to get as many people as possible to see them close up in the flesh, they are some sight.

    I wouldn’t have known anything really about caring for a horse until I went out to Philip and Mary and they were great teachers. I learned so much from them out in the yard, discussing why they were trying something different with a horse, and in the kitchen at breakfast time, telling stories and planning races etc. Seeing the horses you had been working with at home go racing brought a nervous excitement, which I can only compare to being at the top of a rollercoaster just before you drop. I loved it and wanted more.

    I then went on to do a bit of work for Eoghan O’Grady in Ballyclough near Mallow at the weekends. Eoghan is a fantastic horseman who is always planning and trying to get the best out of his horses and place them accordingly. I thought it was important to see other sides of the industry as well, so I spent a summer with Boylesports. I also spent a few months this winter and spring working with mares and foals at Castlehyde Stud near Fermoy which was another marvellous learning curve for me.

    In September I will be entering my fourth year in a bachelor honours degree in Commerce at UCC. I have always been advised to find a job that you enjoy, and you will never work a day in your life and that was my motivation in applying for the HRI internship. I am working with the marketing department at Tote and it has been a very positive experience. All the team here work extremely hard and the summer season can be unyielding for all sectors in the industry with the volume of racing. I have learned plenty in my short time here and the team have been exceptionally friendly.

    Galway is on the horizon and it is a landmark occasion for the racecourse who are celebrating their 150-year anniversary. Tote sponsor the entire card on the Wednesday of the festival, which includes the blue ribband thetote.com Galway Plate. We have plenty of Galway related content on the way with videos and I have put together a few articles and interviews. Everyone I interviewed was so helpful and obliging and I am very grateful to them. It is a logistical challenge with regards to staffing and ensuring that our customers get the best experience, but we are well on our way to meeting those challenges.  I was thrilled when I was asked to help on track with the promotional and marketing side of the business for the week and it is something I’m really looking forward to. Galway is a fantastic festival and I can’t wait to be a part of the team for the week, it is an unbelievable opportunity.

    I have been taken aback by the scope and involvement I have been given by the team and they are very encouraging. It is great to feel that I am bringing value to the business and that my input is taken on-board. Every day I am learning something new and there is always tests like in any business, but with a good team around it is made that bit easier. I would like to thank everyone at Tote and HRI for giving me the chance to gain experience in an industry I love. The internship is a great stepping stone and I feel very privileged to be having this experience.