15 February 2017
First stop: Godolphin and the Darley stallions
Our first trip was to Dalham Hall Stud with Ray Eyres. Our conversation began with, “what’s this yard for?”, ”how many horses are there?”. Then half hour later it was more like, “wait, are we still in Dalham Hall?”
“Yes, definitely! You see those hills? We own everything from here to there.” was Ray’s response. “What about the other side of the hills?”
"Oh, it’s also Godolphin’s. We basically own the land from here to Newmarket.”
I did my maths in my head and realised that Kildangan Stud was only one ninth the size of this place and Kildangan had already seemed like endless grassland. At this moment, I kind of knew that we are at our headquarters now.
At Dalham Hall Stud, we saw well-established infrastructure. But it’s actually the people that makes it stand out from other studs. After presentations from HR, Finance, Marketing, Racing, Stallion, etc., we learnt even more comprehensively about this horse breeding/racing empire.
Godolphin Stables and Moulton Paddocks are the yards for Godolphin’s in-house trainer Saeed bin Saroor and Charlie Appleby to train their horses. Passing by the boxes, the shining brass name tags told me the glorious history, while outside on the gallops they were working out, ready to create some new highs. Talking about new highs and future stars, we met some old friends in England. They are the new two-year-olds in pre-training. We really wish them a bright future and hope to see them in G1 races someday.
Stop 2: Racing Post
As we used to collect data from the Racing Post for research purposes, it felt unreal when we stood at THE front door of the offices of The Racing Post. The morning editorial meeting provided us with first-hand experience of what’s it like to work at this famous newspaper. We were introduced to their systems for logistics, news-editing, website updating, etc. At the end of the visit, we were even invited to be interviewed in their news studio. Amazing!
We also spent more time at Cambridge Publishers Limited (CPL), who sat down with us and gave their thoughts on Darley and Godolphin’s branding strategy. The texture of the pamphlet, printing methods, colour re-calibration, even Godolphin’s takeaway message and lifestyle, from A to Z, our discussion had no limitations. Of course, the most surprisingly fruitful thing came at the end of the 2-day visit: we got a chance to design our own Darley ad. We really earned an editor’s view on advertisements thanks to this practice.
Stop 3: Juddmonte Stud and Jockey Club
All racehorses can be traced back to the power in their bloodlines. That’s when we talk about stallions. Though in Ireland we have Shamardal & Exceed and Excel who are top-notch stallions, when we talk about the best, we talk Dubawi, Frankel and earlier Galileo in Ireland. The chances to see all these stallions through DITI will always be cherished by us.
Turning to the origin of the horse racing industry, it was the Jockey club that introduced the early system. In their historic building, we relived classic English way of life, but we were also figuring out the answers to some questions that we didn’t understand before.
In conclusion, horse racing in England has a profound history and a well-built system. Newmarket, as the equine capital, has established it’s industrial chain from sales, breeding, racing, rehoming to equine hospital, dentist, gears, etc.
Godolphin and Darley, in the heart of Newmarket, has been providing momentum to the industry.
I hope we, as DITI alumni, can use what we learn to give back to the industry in the future.