• Christian Dodd Leopardstown Intern

    I have just completed my four year degree in Business in Entrepreneurship and Management at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire.  I applied for the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) internship programme hoping it would be a great opportunity to apply the skills I had learned in college while gaining experience in an industry that I love. So far I have enjoyed every minute of my internship with HRI.

    I first attended the races when I was very young and it continues to be a regular family tradition which I really enjoy.
    I started my internship at Leopardstown Racecourse four weeks ago and it’s turned out to be everything I could have asked for and more.  My work colleagues, led by Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown welcomed me from day one. They are very friendly, hardworking and helpful and still manage to create a fun atmosphere in the office.  It’s my first experience of office work and being surrounded by women is a new experience, having attended an all-boys school. I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

    I report to Siobhan Warfield-Beattie and also work alongside Ana-Mari Crotty as part of the Marketing/Digital Marketing team. I help with the promotion of Bulmer’s Live at Leopardstown summer events.  I am also working on gaining a more youthful audience via social media, using the five social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube) to achieve this.
    From analysing our social media hits I have discovered that videos we have posted have been more successful at reaching people than photos or text which concurs with snapchat’s huge rise in popularity at all sport and music events.

    My typical day starts with updating the Going Report on the various social media platforms and our website. We run competitions through social media to win tickets to Bulmers Live at Leopardstown and the prize includes a ‘meet and greet’ with the band which I also oversee with one of my colleagues.  

    Each raceday is a 14 hour day but never seems that way. I do the Going Report and some work on social media.  We also shoot a video of David Attwood giving his very entertaining Going Report and providing information on that evening’s live act.  After that we start to build a snapchat story of the day at Leopardstown, showing preparation at the course before the gates open, featuring the food stalls, the music crew and sound check and the arrival of horses, trainers and jockeys. Then it’s gates open.

    During each race, I remain in the parade ring capturing images of the excited winning connections and post them immediately so our followers are up to date. I also capture the meet and greet and the ‘Dare To Be Different Style Awards’. It’s always a great buzz when the races are on and this is followed by the music event.  While I spend quite a bit of time in the office during the Bulmers Live performance, I still feel I’m attending the event and really enjoy the buzz of it all. The following morning is very busy. I download the photos from the event and create an album on Facebook.  Then I schedule posts for the following week’s act and everything starts again!

    Last Tuesday, Claire Rushe organised a great trip to world famous Kildangan Stud for all the HRI interns. We were given an excellent presentation from Joe Osborne, Managing Director, Gerry Duffy, General Manager and Clodagh Kavanagh, Darley International Student Programme Course Manager. I really noticed that they pride themselves on their professionalism, attention to detail and high standards.  This was what struck me most from the moment I drove through the gates.  From the manicured grounds to the excellent presentations, to the tour of the stud by Anthony O’Donnell who showed us three of the stallions – Dawn Approach, Night of Thunder and Slade Power, it was a very special day and a great opportunity to see one of Europe’s leading stud farms at work.

    I have just compiled a video of the photos that capture my past three weeks at Leopardstown, which can be viewed on our Facebook page.  I look forward to the next eight weeks with a real spring in my step. Over the coming weeks I am also looking forward to promoting the Godolphin student initiative which is a fantastic opportunity for students with an interest in the horse industry to be given the chance to go to Longines Irish Champions Weekend for free and to attend a private tour of Kildangan stud.

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