Final year students on specialist horseracing degree courses at Hartpury University have been on a study trip to Ireland to enhance their knowledge of career opportunities within the Irish bloodstock and horseracing industry.
The group met with leading industry figures, including Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Gordon Elliott, and visited the Irish National Stud, The Curragh racecourse and Godolphin’s Kildangan Stud.
The students are from Hartpury’s industry-driven horseracing degree courses - BA (Hons) International Horseracing Business and BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation.
Fiona Dowling, Horseracing Industry Liaison and Lecturer at Hartpury University, said: “Horseracing is one of the largest equine industries, employing nearly 85,000 people either directly or indirectly within the UK, with a wide range of career options available.
“Our degrees have been designed to meet the needs of the industry, with which we work closely, so that graduates are prepared for their chosen career.
“The study trip to Ireland provided students with a comprehensive overview of how the Irish bloodstock and racing industry operates.
“It was invaluable in providing students with the opportunity to network with leading industry figures who will be able to aid them with their career progression in the thoroughbred industry.
“The students really enjoyed the trip and felt that it has opened their eyes to additional career opportunities available to them following their graduation from Hartpury.”
Gordon Elliott is best known for winning the Grand National three times – with Silver Birch in 2007 and with Tiger Roll and in 2018 and 2019 – and the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack.
On the first day of the study trip, students watched some of Mr Elliott’s 200 horses being exercised, met Tiger Roll and listened to Mr Elliott explain how he has built up his training facilities and progressed as a leading racehorse trainer.
On the visit to the Irish National Stud, the students were briefed on what happens in different areas of the stud and given a private viewing of their stallion roster.
The group also met key figures from Horse Racing Ireland, PA Solutions (Horseracing and Bloodstock administration), Godolphin and the Irish National Stud Breeding Course to find out how they became successful in their careers.
The second day of the trip began with a tour of The Curragh racecourse – home of the Irish Derby – and public training facilities by Operations Executive Shane Gorey.
In the afternoon, the students spent time at Goffs Bloodstock sales and met with Sarah Parsons, who explained her role as transport coordinator for a leading racehorse transport company, and highly acclaimed racing journalist Kevin Blake.
The highlight of the final day was a tour of Godolphin’s Kildangan Stud, where a member of its Nominations Sales and Marketing team, Caoimhe Doherty, explained how the stud operates.
She also enlightened students about her experiences of the Godolphin Flying Start programme, which some of the students have expressed an interest in following their studies at Hartpury.
Fiona Dowling added: “The BA (Hons) International Horseracing Business and BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation degrees provides students with the first-hand industry experience that employers are looking for.
“An important aspect of both courses is providing students with the opportunity to meet with key figures from within the industry.
“As well as the latest study trip to Ireland, students on the racing programmes this year have visited Venetia Williams Racing, Chepstow Racecourse, with a trip planned to Cheltenham National Hunt sales before Christmas.”
Picture: Hartpury students with two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll at trainer Gordon Elliott's stables