By Alayna Cullen
Today is the turn of Pádraic Gahan, a Bloodstock Executive at Goffs, to take the chair and answer our questions
TDN: Tell us about your career to date?
PG: My earliest memories are of being on foal-watch with my father, Pat, so I owe my initial introduction to the industry to him having grown up on a farm of one or two broodmares in County Wicklow. This interest was strengthened over weekends and school holidays with Helen Markham in Grangecon from the age of 14 where I got an insight into the education of young horses. Having studied Commerce at University College Dublin and being a founding member of their horseracing society, I became a bid-spotter at Goffs in my final year. I recall the morning of my first sale, the Orby in 2013, with fellow debutant and good friend Nick Foster remarking ”I have had trials for Cardiff City and I wasn’t as nervous for them as I am now!”
Upon finishing my final exams, I went to Ashford Stud in Kentucky where I was involved in the preparation of the farm’s consignments at the autumn sales in Keeneland. In January 2015, I met with Henry Beeby and joined Goffs UK for an internship. After nine months in the Scottish borders, I joined Goffs in Kill on a permanent basis. In June 2017 I embarked on a trip beginning with four months of travel in South America and culminating with a year working in Australia. There I divided my time between Melbourne trainer Robert Smerdon and Sydney-based Aushorse. I returned home in August to take up my current position at Goffs.
TDN: If you could be one person in the industry for a day who would it be and why?
PG: It would have to be any winning owner-breeder. You have foaled them, raised them and nurtured their whole life.
TDN: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
PG: I have been fortunate to have many mentors who have been and continue to be willing to impart their knowledge but the most recent advice that I valued was given to me by a leading Australian bloodstock agent. It was on the subject of inspecting a horse at the sales and he advised to take a minute to let the horse stand in front of you when you first pull it out. To observe its behaviour and its general demeanour. It got me thinking about an aspect of the horse that I hadn’t previously considered much. Their mind is very important.
TDN: What is the best aspect of your current job?
PG: When the horses arrive on the sales complex and you can match the pedigrees with the horses and their people. We work hard attracting and processing entries, compiling the catalogues and the sales are the culmination of it all. It is very rewarding to exceed the expectations of a client and it is not always the highest prices that give the most satisfaction.
TDN: If you weren’t working in the horseracing industry what would you be doing?
PG: Working in the city to support my passion for the industry.
TDN: If you had 24 hours to get someone interested in the horseracing industry how would you do it?
PG: Give them an unbiased, no-strings-attached experience. We all know the passion we have for the sport, we just need to package this feeling and give it to others. I was exposed to this through the Aushorse initiative Racing Connections. There is often a genuine interest among the public but there can be a barrier to entry without the initial introduction. Team up with a trainer who has a runner and essentially let the person be the owner for the day. It involves meeting with them before racing, answering any questions they may have, introducing them to industry professionals and connections, accompanying them to the parade ring, including them in the pre-race instructions, watching the race with them, and no matter the result congregating in the owners’ and trainers’ area afterwards. All of this without an obligation to actually get involved. We have a marvellous product, we need to showcase it.
TDN: What was your biggest achievement in 2018?
PG: Professionally, the conversion rate of participants in Racing Connections to ownership. On a personal note, a 12,000 feet skydive.
TDN: Who was your horse of 2018 and why?
PG: Laurens – class and all heart. She was a queen as a yearling at the Goffs UK Premier Sale when purchased by John and Jess Dance and has since realised dreams. Siyouni looks set to be a remarkable sire in both hemispheres.
TDN: What is your New Year’s resolution?
PG: To keep learning and surround myself with good people.