Dublin fever has switched to the Irish Breeders Classic, which begins today, offering the largest young horse prize fund in the world. Before I turn the page on Dublin for 2023 however, I wanted to reflect on the wider breeder achievements.

If we ever needed evidence of the growing interest in breeding amongst the young people of Ireland, we should look no further than Greg Broderick’s Ballypatrick Stables last week. The well-known competition, trading and breeding farm in Thurles welcomed 44 young breeders.

The eager young horsemen and horsewomen made the trip with the ISH Young Breeders programme, an established collaborative initiative between Horse Sport Ireland and Teagasc.


The Young Breeder group were welcomed by breeding manager Cheryl Broderick who heads up the breeding programme at their Fortwilliam farm. Fortwilliam houses some of the most well-bred mares in the world, plus a roster of eight top-quality stallions at Ballypatrick. She is one of Ireland’s most successful sports horse breeders and has won the Leading Breeder’s Prize at the RDS Dublin Horse Show for the last two years. I was lucky enough to be standing next to her as her home-bred BP Goodfellas won individual gold under pilot Gerard O’Neill at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Lanaken last year. It wasn’t hard to see what it means to her: even for someone at the very top of her game, it means the world.

Breeders’ Talk

It’s impossible in this short column to individually celebrate all the hundreds of breeders that bring to fruition our incredible Irish horses and ponies, but to see a 100-strong sold-out Breeders’ Talk in the beautiful library setting at the RDS this year offers a temperature of the current interest in, and respect people have for, the art of breeding. Noticeable too that Plusvital are supporting the breeder discussions and breeder classes. Up with this sort of thing!

Short courses

If you’re keen to learn more or upskill your breeding, October and November sees the return of Teagasc’s useful short courses. The blended learning courses are intended for those embarking on breeding for the first time or those who simply want to improve or refresh their knowledge.


Breeding highlight for me at this year’s Dublin? Well, like most I could watch the Patrick Connolly-bred CSF James Kann Cruz all day long, and the beautiful Two-Year-Old Champion Young Horse, Gatsbys Girl, bred by John Walsh, was a delight, but it was the thoroughbreds in the event classes that brought the biggest smile to my face. The Rory O’Brien-bred Gervada taking 4th in the Five-Year-Old Young Event Horse class with Chloe Fagan, and the Sean Delaney-bred Thistletown Delboy with rider David Furlong clinching 2nd in the Four-Year-Old class.

Bring on Barnadown!