We went on our first trip today to the immaculate Gilltown (part of the Aga Khan Studs), which is owned by HH The Aga Khan. We were introduced to the manager Pat Downes, who took us around the stud and to look at the stallions. This year they are standing Azamour, Dalakhani and in particular Sea The Stars who was born and raised at the Irish National Stud. In his 3yo career he won 6 Group 1's in 6 months, including the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes, International Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. So he is a huge favourite among the Irish people! His dam Urban Sea resided at the INS for may years, and sadly passed away post foaling in 2009 after producing an Invincible Spirit colt. She was a much loved part of the farm, and is also the dam of the great Coolmore sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells).
In short, to see Sea The Stars was a huge thrill, and even I got goosebumps, so I can hardly imagine how excited the Irish students were! We were all privileged enough to be allowed to get a single photo with him, and then a group shot. Sea The Stars took it all in his stride, and stood for us as if he knew just how good he was! He is a beautifully conformed horse, with a lovely big loose walk, and once he lets down from his race condition it is easy to see the impressive horse he will become!
Looking forward to the Punchestown Race Festival next week (the premier jumps racing carnival in Ireland) as we all get to go on one of the days.
Hoping all is well back home,