Britain continues to face significant challenges and restrictions in the face of the ongoing public health situation, but The National Stud is one part of The Jockey Club which has been able to operate close to business as usual.
Set in more than 500 acres on the outskirts of Newmarket, The National Stud has three main functions:
Providing a first class range of comprehensive breeding services.
Educating the next generation of industry leaders through our stud staff training courses.
Raising public awareness of the Thoroughbred industry with tours.
The Stud has already seen well over 100 foals born this Spring. Here, we’ve talked (from a safe social distance!) to some of the Stud employees who are helping ensure the bloodstock industry can continue to operate during these extraordinary times.
Beth Howard, Stud Secretary, outlines how the office-based staff have been as busy as ever and following Government guidelines on a daily basis.
Luke Strong, Stallion Handler, also explains how lorry drivers are remaining in their vehicles when picking up and dropping off horses at the stud, paperwork has been replaced with emails and digital communications and highlights the extra measures put in place to ensure mares can continue to be covered while employees remain a safe distance apart.
Joe Callan, Nominations and Marketing Manager at The National Stud, said: “We’re skeleton staff in some areas but it’s about trying to keep going and following the guidelines so we don’t run into problems. Obviously the health of the horses and the health of our staff is the most important thing.
“The biggest concern initially was that we’d be losing a lot of mares (owners choosing not to send them to be covered at The National Stud) but we haven’t thankfully. That’s the one thing about the bloodstock industry is that people try to keep the wheel turning. It’s a small community and everyone’s trying to keep things going.
“I think we’re very lucky that we haven’t really seen the effects that a lot of other businesses have and we’re blessed in that respect.”
Joe also looks at Time Test and how his post-racing career has gone strength to strength, with the star stallion now set to cover his biggest book of mares to date in his third season.