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Joanne Lavery Apprentice Blog - Goffs Bloodstock Sales

2017/2018 Apprentice Joanne Lavery reports from her first placement at Goffs Bloodstock Sales
Joanne Lavery Apprentice Blog - Goffs Bloodstock Sales

I feel very lucky that I have been chosen for the apprenticeship scheme that the ITBA Next Generation offers. My first placement is in Goffs in the bloodstock office. Goffs is Ireland's leading Bloodstock Sales Company. Here I am assisting a very well-co-ordinated and experienced team. The knowledge I have gained from this group of people in such a short space of time has been incredible. I am a girl that has worked outside with horses ever since I was little. The idea of having an office job and having to look presentable every day was daunting. I really was not sure what I was going to be doing going into a bloodstock office, all I knew was that I was keen to see the bloodstock world from the ‘other side.’ For the last two years I have bought foals here in Goffs in the November Foal Sales with the aim to sell them the following year as yearlings. However I had not managed to sell a single one of my purchases until I started as an Intern here in Goffs.

I began working with Goffs on the 1st September, with a little over a week until my first sales. As you can imagine it’s all go here the week before a sale so I am unsure how anyone here had the time or patience to show me the ropes. But they did and I got involved very quickly and tried keeping silly questions to a minimum. However at the Champion’s Sale I had previous arrangements of being a vendor at this sale. Therefore I was kindly given the day off. It was fantastic to see the prep work that went into the sale where my horse was going to be one of ten lots to be offered for sale. The recruitment of overseas buyers had already taken place and I witnessed the final push to get these horses advertised and sold. This sale took place in Leopardstown Racecourse before the racing kicked off for Champions weekend. The sale was a huge success with all lots that were offered sold and six of the ten lots sold for €100,000 or more. I was overwhelmed with the praise everyone here in the office had for me after the sale of Burgundy Boy and it is a day that I will never ever forget.

The next sale on the agenda was the Orby and Sportsman’s Yearling Sale. Here was where I got to see the gorgeous Frankel colt top the strong Orby sale selling for €1.6 million. During this sale I was mostly in the sales office, ensuring all passports were lodged with vaccinations up to date, taking reserves and answering queries’ that the customers may have. Here I learnt many new skills which included face to face interactions with clients. When the sales office was relatively quiet I got to shadow Nick Nugent as he assessed horses that he would be auctioning. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience as he has such vast knowledge and experience. Along the way he introduced me to several people in the bloodstock world which I am very grateful for as one of my aims while on this apprenticeship is to meet as many people as possible.

After this sale was when it got really busy in the office as we prepared for the next two sales which includes the seven day foal and breeding stock sale. The most recent sale was the Horses in Training and Open Yearling Sale in October. The HIT sale gives people the opportunity to purchase a racehorse, I think it is incredible that the public can get access to a horse that is not only broken and riding but also purchasers can view their racing record, the pedigree page and the animal itself. The last of the yearlings to be offered here at Goffs for 2017 were in the Open Sale. Here is where I sold one of my foal purchases from Goffs in 2016 for a nice profit and am delighted to have my first ever sale at a yearling sale! I regularly got asked throughout the sale if I am tired yet, ‘no I am fine’ was how I confidently answered. To which everyone responded with ‘wait until the November sale.’

We are currently building up to this sale that has a new and improved format that commences on the 20th of November. This sale consists of part 1 foals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the best foals selling on Wednesday. There is a short break in foals with the Breeding Stock Sale on Thursday and Friday. Then finally we have two more days of foals on Saturday and Sunday. Once this sale is over the last sales that I will have a role to play in is the December National Hunt Sale. I was very fortunate to arrive into Goffs at such a busy time and feel the work I have put in is valued. There is a long list of people that I would like to thank; firstly to everyone in the ITBA especially Shane O’Dwyer, Kerry Ryan and Eleanor Dunne for choosing me to represent them as an apprentice, Henry Beeby, Nick Nugent and Ronan Griffin for giving me this opportunity to work in Goffs and finally to all the staff here in Goffs for helping me along the way and making this experience a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Ballyhane Stud will be my next placement in January.

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