Thursday, September 16, 2010

Irish National Stud

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of visiting the Irish National Stud. In addition to being a stalwart at the top of the Irish (and global) Thoroughbred industry, the National Stud is a tourism hallmark in Ireland. I was surprised (and thoroughly impressed) to learn that the National Stud accomodates over 140,000 tourists per year.

The Flying Start tour began with a visit to the stallion yard, where we saw Art Connoisseur, Indian Haven, Jeremy, Verglas, and last but definitely not least, Invincible Spirit. Already a champion sire, Invincible Spirit certainly looked the part. He is an incredibly powerful and well-balanced horse, with no apparent flaw to my learning eye.

Invincible Spirit at Irish National Stud

We then headed off to see some mares and foals, but not before detouring through some beautiful woodlands complete with lakes, waterfalls, and stone huts:

After viewing some broodmares and foals, we got a great surprise: the entire Flying Start class was allowed to go into the paddock with Vintage Crop, the 1993 Melbourne Cup winner who now resides at the National Stud. This was a great treat, especially for our three Australian trainees. Vintage Crop was an absolute sweetheart, and between that and the beautiful shining sun, I'm sure we all would have been content to stay with him all day.

Nick, Leah, and Lindsay with Vintage Crop

Australian trainees Adrian, Nick, and Michael with Vintage Crop

Yours truly with Vintage Crop
Spoiling the Champ
After a stop by the National Stud museum, we were kindly treated to tea and desserts by the staff.

My visit to the Irish National Stud was very memorable, and I was very impressed by what the Stud is doing to promote horses and racing to the public. I hope to return again soon, and for everyone traveling to Ireland, it is a must see.

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