Latest students graduate as Irish National Stud course celebrates 50-year mark
24 individuals from around the world received their honours on Friday
That the Irish National Stud's thoroughbred breeding course reached its half-century this year would usually have been cause for some serious celebrations - except this isn't quite the time for big parties.
So the latest 24 students to graduate from an education system that is respected the world over had to make do with a low-key ceremony on Friday afternoon as they prepared to begin their careers in the industry.
It was back in 1971 that the stud's then-manager Michael Osborne initiated a course that has received more than 1,000 students to date and played a part in shaping many of bloodstock's influential figures.
The six-month residential course runs through the breeding season and includes a large chunk of practical experience through the stud's stallion yard, foaling unit, yearling barns and office, with ongoing assessment and project work.
The two dozen students from around the world were awarded their certificates at the stud on Friday, with gold and silver medals awarded to the highest achieving two students.
Gold was presented to Jake Scott Campbell from County Kildare, who was praised for demonstrating "an outstanding performance in all aspects of the course", with the silver medal awarded to Australian Lachlan Pethica.
The Jonathan Fitzpatrick internship was awarded to Benjamin Shoare from West Sussex, who will commence his internship with the INS next month.
Alexis Navet from France was the recipient of the Irish Field Blue Hen Award and presented with a cheque for €250 for his winning article on broodmares.
The veterinary exam award was presented to Sarah Kelly from Kildare, while the CEO award for the highest score in the equine business exam went to Conor Mahon of County Kilkenny.
Best portfolio of assignments also went to Shoare, while the continuous assessment award was presented to Niamh Walsh of County Waterford for her determination, hard work and dedication throughout her time on the course.
Grace Kerr (from the class of 2020) was the recipient of the John Durkan scholarship, which is presented annually by the class of 1984 and granted to a student who has shown an interest in pursuing a career in training racehorses. The winner is heading towards a placement with another former course graduate, Manton-based Brian Meehan, in the coming weeks.
Anne Channon, the course's education development manager, said: "I would like to commend the students for their hard work and dedication over the past six months.
"More than ever before the thoroughbred industry needs skilled
people who are thinkers and globally minded [and] I'm confident that these students have all the attributes that are needed to bring the industry forward. I wish each and every one of them the very best as they take the next step in their careers."
Cathal Beale, the CEO of the Irish National Stud, added: "The class of 2021 have excelled themselves throughout the course. With the various enforced restrictions in place, they managed a difficult situation with resilience and professionalism.
"We look forward to celebrating their inevitable achievements over the coming year and wish them all the very best in the future."
The class of 2021
Patrick Campion (USA), Shea Connolly (Ireland), Marianne Gay (France), Hortense Huet (France), Suzanne Hyland (Ireland), Sarah Kelly (Ireland), Eathan Leonard (Ireland), Conor Mahon (Ireland), Olivia Marnane (Ireland), Hannah Moriarty (USA), Alexis Navet (France), Mairead O’Riordan (Ireland), George Prince (UK), Lauren Robinson (Ireland), Mehdi Saci (France), Jake Scott Campbell (Ireland), Ben Shoare (UK), Charlie Sweeney (Ireland), Niamh Walsh (Ireland), Elinor Wolf (USA), Normarie Santiago (Puerto Rico) recipient of the Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship, Nathan Trumper (New Zealand) recipient of the NZTBA scholarship, Lachlan Pethica (Australia) and Alyssa Pickles (Australia) recipients of the Thoroughbred Breeders Australia Basil Nolan Jnr scholarship.