By Leigh Ann Howard
The CTBA Ireland Tour started off with a long
airplane ride. Most attendees chose the non-stop AerLingus flight offered
out of LAX. We arrived late morning, Irish time, and were promptly taken
by our tour bus to the Killashee
House Hotel to check in.
After a rather long check-in process that
was hampered by the finishing up of a construction crew installing new
carpets in the main lobby area, we took the bus to the Irish
The weather was intermittent light showers,
which were actually quite welcome to our drought-accustomed Californians.
The Irish National Stud has a fabulous dining room with lots of home-made
soups and outstanding desserts. Along with the dining room is a well-stocked
gift shop that leans toward "All Things Horse".
We were shown most of the stallions, several
of whom are going to South America and Australia in the next few days.
Their top stallion right now is a bay named Invincible Spirit, by Green
Dancer. Himself a champion sprinter, he has sired four stakes winners in
his first crop. This horse has the highest ratio of winners to foals of
any leading first-crop sire.
The famed Japanese Gardens and the museum
were toured by several of the group, although the horses seemed to hold
most people's attention.
Tomorrow we visit the training yard of John
Oxx, tour the Curragh Gallops with the course superintendent, and meet
with leaders of the Irish Thoroughbred industry for a luncheon and presentation.
Leigh Ann Howard, manager
of Valley Creek Farm, is a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders
Association board of directors.
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