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A Report From the CTBA's Tour of Ireland
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 National Stud
     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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