INTERVIEW: RONAN BURNS OF HERBERTSTOWN HOUSE STUD
29 February 2016
Amy Lynam speaks to breeder Ronan Burns of Herberstown House Stud about Super Saturday hopeful Tryster (IRE), his first season sire predictions for 2016, and what he learnt growing up at Lodge Park Stud.
You purchased Herbertstown House Stud in 2011. What attracted you to the property?
The quality of land here is fantastic, to get a parcel of land of its quality is extremely difficult and we were lucky enough to be in a position to buy it in the height of Ireland's recession.
You grew up at Lodge Park Stud, an establishment famed for producing top-class racehorses such as New Approach (IRE). What is the most important lesson you learnt there?
It's the racecourse that matters!! All the work with the mares, mating plans, day-to-day management of the horses is about producing sound, quality racehorses. Producing for the sales is secondary and short-sighted; produce good racehorses and top sales results will follow!
And moving on from that, how do you think your approach to breeding, buying and selling differs to that of your father Seamus?
Very hard to say, Dad built up a quality broodmare band in Lodge Park gradually over 25 years, I'd have less patience, which may not be a good thing!
How many broodmares do you currently have at the farm?
13, 12 is our ideal number. We don't want high numbers and prefer to concentrate on quality.
Tryster (IRE) was the very first horse you sold. Did you always think he was going to be special?
Yes, Tryster (IRE) was always a beautiful horse, very hard to fault, although he was a little highly strung like many horses that have such an electrifying turn of foot! Charlie Appleby and his team have done a great job with him, the top judges loved him at the sales, Ross Doyle and Richard Hannon underbid him as a yearling without a client. The second horse we sold, Sergeant Titanium (IRE), isn't too bad either, having won almost $700,000 to date!
You bought the dam of Rich Tapestry (IRE) at the Goffs November Sale in 2012. What progeny have we got to look forward to?
She has had a few breeding issues which I hope we have rectified, and she is currently is foal to the wonderful Shamardal. Meydan this year has been very exciting for us, as besides roaring on Rich Tapestry (IRE) and Tryster (IRE), we also have a Sepoy yearling sister to last week's Group 2 Zabeel Mile winner Safety Check (IRE).
You've pinhooked some talented racehorses, including Libertarian and Beacon Lodge. What do you look for when buying a foal?
I love a horse with 'presence', which is almost impossible to explain to a 'non-horse' person, and to find a horse with it is so rare!
What first season sires do you think will top the tables in 2016?
Born To Sea (IRE) for me, although plenty of others have more to run for them!
And what new sires will you be using in 2016?
I'm not using any first crop sires this year. I try to use proven when possible, although I am using Dawn Approach (IRE) and Camelot. I was impressed with their foals and they are not overpriced for Guineas winners!
Yourself and your wife Marcella owned First Cornerstone (IRE), winner of the Futurity Stakes. Do you currently have any horses in training?
We've a Bated Breath two-year-old colt with Andy Oliver. He got a small injury at the sales and is our first in Ireland since First Cornerstone (IRE), so let's hope Andy can work his magic again!
Name a Herbertstown House graduate that is 'One-To-Watch' for the future?
Endless Time (IRE) was very impressive winning her Listed race in Naas at the end of last season for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby. She's a beautiful, big filly and should only improve with time!