• William Kennedy


    ''If you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life''. This message was conveyed by Gerry Duffy, General Manager of Kildangan Stud during our visit there and this idea was also the initial driving force behind my application for the internship, having just completed first year of Business and Law in UCD. The horse racing industry is one which I am passionate about and I was eager to gain knowledge and experience in this field. I was delighted when Kate O'Sullivan informed me that I would be taking up a position in the Racing Department in Horse racing Ireland.

    My interest in horse racing arises from my background. I was introduced to the sport at a young age, hunting with the Kildare foxhounds and competing in pony club eventing which led on to riding racehorses.  Soon bitten by the bug, I had little interest in any other sphere except the racing industry. My love of racing was aided by the fact that living in Kildare meant there was access to top class racing in venues such as Punchestown, Naas and the Curragh on my doorstep.

    The Racing Department consists of five sub departments: Registrations, Publications, Entries and Declarations, Race Planning, and Racecourse Services. Initially I was taken aback by the hive of activity which I found myself immersed in and was previously unaware of the extensive work that takes place behind the scenes to ensure the seamless administration of Irish racing which we are all accustomed to. My job was made easier due to help given to me by the Department Manager Cathy-Ann Hazzard and her team. Throughout the day I could find myself working in any of the various sections of the department gaining a broad understanding of its functions and its role in administration.

    A typical day for me would include proof reading of racecards for later in the week. This involves checking the owners, breeders, colours and reading through the conditions, prize-money and officials present on the racecard highlighting mistakes or missing data and ensuring everything is correct before the cards are sent to the printers. If entries and declarations are busy I could find myself helping in that area. Declarations and entries close at 10am and 12 noon respectively. Once closed and everything is in order, they are sent to the press, racecourses and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. Ordinarily I send these out under the guidance of a member of the publications team and also I fax declarations, microchip and AIR lists to the relevant racecourses and officials. I send race proofs of every Plus 10 Scheme 2yo race at entry and declaration stage to BHA and Weatherbys. This scheme is an attractive financial incentive going forward encouraging owners to put horses in training in Ireland and the UK. Additionally, I compile a document of early closing races for each coming week which is also sent to the relevant media, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and racing publications in Ireland and the UK.

    One of the highlights of my internship was our trip to Eddie Lynam's yard and seeing the magnificent Sole Power, and also our trip to one of Ireland's flagship breeding enterprises Kildangan Stud which provided the opportunity to converse with industry leaders such as Joe Osbourne. During my time in HRI, I was fortunate enough to lineout for their tag rugby team. The aptly named ''Hurricane Try'' who were almost as prolific winners as their equine namesake Hurricane Fly!

    In conclusion my internship has been a positive experience.  I applied for the internship to achieve further exposure to the industry. This is something which I have been provided with on many different levels. From my day to day duties in the office and interaction with co-workers, to stud and racing yard trips, I have certainly acquired a greater understanding of the thoroughbred industry.  It has definitely provided an added dimension to my education and has sharpened my desire to develop a career within the thoroughbred industry. It is a great initiative by HRI, typical of their all-inclusive approach to promoting horse racing. Finally I would like to thank Kate O'Sullivan and all in HRI for this worthwhile experience.