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A Report From the CTBA's Tour of Ireland
The Third and Fourth Days

By Leigh Ann Howard
 
     Day Three started with a drive south to Coolmore Stud.  There we received a thorough tour which included seeing all the stallions including the grand old man himself: Sadler's Wells.  It was reported he was finally slowing down this spring with only 70 mares in foal. 
     From Coolmore Stud we headed east for lunch at the Mount Juliet Estate. A walk around Ballylinch Stud after lunch was probably a good choice since this is farm is less of a showplace and more of a "working farm." 
     The grey spotted stallion The Tetrarch stood at this farm during the early 20th Century. And much more recently 2006 Breeders Cup Turf winner Red Rocks was born and raised on this farm.
     This evening we went to a local pub for dinner: The Hanged Man. This pub is located on the northwest side of the Curragh and seemed to be very well known by everyone. The pub had excellent food and great atmosphere, including opera music being played in the background.
     The proprietor's response to why an Irish pub would be playing opera music was simple:  "because I like it".
    Day Four started with a relatively short bus trip north to Moyglare Stud. This farm does not stand stallions but does raise some of the best runners. We walked far into one 50-acre pasture to meet several of the very top mares in the world. The babies with the mares are full and half's to so many top level runners. 
     The manager, Stan Cosgrove, and his excellent crew were gracious with their time and obviously very proud of their farm. The gardens around the main residence were incredible. The photos simply don't catch the depth, spaciousness and color that you see as you are standing there. 
     Next we trekked on to the Tattersalls Sale Complex to get a taste of how horse sales are handled in Ireland. 
     This sale was a select group of 3- and 4-year-old Thoroughbred bred to be steeplechase runners.  It was a two-day sale and it was reported that the average price for the first day was 44,000 Euros. 
     The Irish have some interesting variations on our sales, including the practice of not scoping a horse unless that horse makes a suspicious noise during the mandatory round-pen exercise. 
     There are covered enclosed round pens on the sales sight where the wind and soundness of the horse are tested several days prior to the sale. This sale included over 550 head.
     In the evening we drove over to the Curragh to get a less-crowded view of the paddock area and grandstand. Several of our folks did well with the bookies this evening. And the weather was gorgeous all evening. 
     Tomorrow is Ladies Day with many categories of fine dress being judged. We stopped by the Mad Hatters to check out the headwear of the elegant Irish ladies.
     Tomorrow we sleep in!! 
Flowers growing out of a stone wall.
 
The grave marker of The Tetrarch at Ballylinch.
 
The breeding barn at Coolmore displayed names and records of horses conceived under that roof.
images/
Debbie Winick and Juan Garcia
examine stallion data.
 
The great sire Sadler's Wells poses for the tour group.
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