'I felt like I was seeing a celebrity up close' - Michael Hardy takes our Q&A
The former US farm general manager recently joined Goffs as head of sales
Michael Hardy has recently joined Goffs as head of sales. His previous roles have included being general manager of Margaux Farm in Kentucky so he has plenty of experience to call on when it comes to his new job - and tackling our Q&A.
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into racing?
My family has a small breeding operation in Northern Ireland; growing up we had five or six mares at a time and did everything ourselves, so it was a great way to gain experience. I have great memories of traveling with my father to look at stallions every year and prepping foals for sale with my brother. It gave me a fantastic grounding to see the industry as both a buyer and seller. From there I went on to study Equine Science at the University of Limerick and completed both the Irish National Stud course and the Darley Flying Start.
You have worked at a variety of racing and breeding operations; which was the most interesting/enjoyable and why, and what did you learn from the role?
I have thoroughly enjoyed every step of my career so far, each has provided me with unique experiences and the opportunity to meet and work with great people. The role I spent the most time in and took the most from would have to be my time at Margaux Farm. During my six years there we doubled the acreage of the farm and developed a European-style pre-training and rehab centre.
Managing the development of the farm was a great experience but what I really took away from the role was the customer centric approach that we found was vital to growing the reputation of the
farm and our overall business.
Your best day in the business and why?
In the last two years, I've been doing some private work in bloodstock and this year I was lucky to be a part of a fantastic pinhook success for Steve Spielman's Nice Guy Stables. The team selected an Arrogate filly for him as a yearling for $150,000 from the Keeneland September Sale, which he sold for $1 million at OBS April in Ocala. It was great just to be a part of it and I'm excited to see what she can do on the track.
Who do you most admire within the industry?
John Williams, a long-time bloodstock agent in Lexington, is a man I admire greatly. I first met him during my time on the Flying Start, where he assisted the trainees with their yearling conformation evaluations on Godolphin’s farms. John’s legacy in the industry is immense.
From his time at the helm of Spendthrift Farm during the time of Seattle Slew, Nashua, and many others, to his development of Eaton-Williams sales agency, John has set the bar high. The best thing about John is that he loves to share that hard-earned knowledge. He gets up every day and works with passion and integrity, and his commitment to the industry is inspiring.
Can you tell us more about what you'll be doing in your new role at Goffs?
Goffs is the gateway for Irish breeders to a global marketplace. My role will be customer-focused, working closely with breeders, vendors and purchasers; to listen and understand their needs and continue to meet and exceed their expectations.
In the coming weeks I hope to be able to get out and speak with as many of our customers as possible ahead of the yearling sales. It's the objective of the entire team at Goffs to work to achieve the goals of each individual customer and provide a dynamic array of sales opportunities throughout the year.
What is your favourite memory of Galileo or one of his sons or daughters?
I have a few great memories of Galileo as a racehorse and stallion. I would have to say my favourite memory of him was his victory in the Irish Derby. I would go to the Irish Derby every year with my family and I vividly remember him and Mick Kinane coming back into the parade ring after that race. Having watched the Derby just a few weeks earlier at home on TV, I felt like I was seeing a celebrity up close. What a legacy he leaves behind.
Finally, have you got a racehorse/stallion/mare you're involved with that our readers should look out for this year?
I’d say it won’t be long until I get involved with a few now I’ve moved home, but my father has a couple in training with Andy Oliver that he purchased from the Goffs Orby Sale last year. They're close to running so hopefully we will have a few successful days ahead with them.