Irish Stallion Studs are very happy to show their stallions to breeders, although it is wise to make an appointment and it is best to avoid the peak breeding season from mid February to the end of May. Remember, too, that some of the leading flat stallions transfer to the Southern Hemisphere and are not available for viewing from July to November. This all means that the very best times to view stallions are December - mid February, immediately before the covering season, and in June; although NH studs will be pleased to receive visitors by appointment throughout the year. Amongst those of most interest to breeders are:
The main Coolmore Stud, former home of the three of the best European stallions of the past 50 years, Sadler’s Wells, Danehill and Montjeu, is located on the R689 between Killenaule and Fethard, within easy reach of the M8 at Horse & Jockey or Cashel. At this stud can be found the horse that is simply the best thoroughbred stallion in the world today, Galileo, standing at a private fee that if you've got to ask you can't afford.
Other proven high-class stallions at Coolmore include Fastnet Rock, Mastercraftsman, Holy Roman Emperor and Rock of Gibraltar; whilst promising candidates for future distinction are Australia, Camelot, Pour Moi, Ruler of the World, Rip Van Winkle, So You Think, Canford Cliffsand Excelebration.
Of course, when the highly-successful Danehill Dancer started his stud career it was at a moderate fee; and there are always animals at Coolmore who might go on to great things despite starting off at fees of less than 10,000 euros.
Coolmore National Hunt
The National Hunt side of Coolmore is located at three separate studs close to Ballincurrig. Some of the most successful NH stallions stand in Cork, following in the footsteps of Deep Run, Supreme Leader, Be My Native and (longer ago than any of us can remember) Cottage.
- Castle Hyde, off the N72 West just outside Fermoy, standing the great stayer Yeats, Westerner, Dylan Thomas and Scorpion, , who between them are likely to make an immense impact on NH breeding in future years;
- Grange Stud, along the road across from Castle Hyde, standing a similarly strong portfolio of Oscar, Milan, Fame and Glory, Leading Light and Getaway;
- The Beeches, off the N72 just outside Lismore, standing Flemensfirth,Ask, Imperial Monarch, Mountain High, Mahler, Ocovango and Sans Frontieres.
The flat-based operations of Rathbarry are based at the main stud on the Ballincurrig side of Fermoy. Standing here are the successful sires of sprinters and milers Acclamation and Tagula, along with other potential sires of fast horses, Xtension and Lilbourne Lad.
Rathbarry National Hunt
The NH operations of Rathbarry, which formerly featured the leading stallion Strong Gale, are based at the nearby Glenview Stud. Currently Glenview is the home of multiple Champion NH sire Presenting, the new pin-up of Irish NH breeding Robin Des Champs and the outstanding NH prospects Shirocco and Sholokhov.
This establishment is located near to Glenview and is run by the enthusiastic David Stack, whose talents as a stand-up comedian come highly recommended. Coolagown’s flagship stallions are the brilliant, though slightly erratic, son of Montjeu, Papal Bull; another son of Montjeu, the Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire; and the grey Carlotamix, whose son Gemix was a dual Champion Hurdle winner in France and is now at stud himself.
The former home of that outstanding sire of staying chasers Roselier and the recent champion NH sire Beneficial, Knockhouse is located just north of the pleasant city of Waterford in the interestingly named hamlet of Kilmacow. The stud stands the first grandson of Galileo to enter the NH market, Dante winner and Derby second Libertarian, the recently-repatiated Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow, the consistent St Leger winner Millenary, the tough 10 furlong performer Notnowcato and two sons of the German sire Lando in Prince Fiori and Touch of Land. The popular Lie Forrit's sire Subtle Power is also in residence.
Arctic Tack Stud
Owned by Eoin Banville, Arctic Tack is located in lovely countryside in the triangle between Waterford, New Ross and Wexford. The stud specialises in outcrosses to Sadler's Wells, featuring two sons of Monsun, Arcadio and the difficult-to-spell Aizavoski, and one of Acatanango, Caudillo (a sound horse who ran no less than 43 times). A major success for the stud was Montjeu’s brother Gold Well, once intriguingly described by his owner to one of our clients as a "(blank) eejit" but who became an outstanding producer of NH horses before his untimely death. His (and so Montjeu's) half-brother Le Fou is now at the stud aiming to replicate his success. They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but you might not get long odds against Eoin Banville doing so!