Demand for the services of one of the most-prized stallions in Irish horse breeding history was the main driver of a 56% increase in profits at the Irish National Stud in 2016.
The commercial state body reported profits of €3.9m last year — up from €2.5m in 2015 — as it enjoyed what Irish National Stud chairman, Matt Dempsey, described as “another year of improved trading”.
Overall revenue at the thoroughbred horse breeding centre in Tully, Co Kildare also rose by 23% to €10.6m including an extra €1m income from stallion fees.
Revenue from its core business rose by almost €1.8m to €9.4m. Mr Dempsey said the improved financial performance was, as in previous years, largely attributable to the earning power of the stud’s best-known stallion, Invincible Spirit, who commands a stud fee of €120,000.
“This outstanding success is due to his continuous stream of wins at the highest level,” said Mr Dempsey.
Invincible Spirit sired three new Group 1 winners last year — Profitable, Signs of Blessings and National Defence. The 20-year-old stallion has now sired 15 individual winners of Group 1 races.
Mr Dempsey said the company’s stud services enjoyed a successful year with 263 live foals born during 2016.
The Irish National Stud also acquired nine new broodmares, bringing its total to 38.
However, Mr Dempsey said the Irish National Stud’s quest for a new stallion for this year proved unsuccessful.
He predicted the stallion market would become more competitive than ever in 2017 as there were 19 new stallions serving the Irish market.
The tourism branch of the company also performed well with an increase in the number of visitors to the Irish National Stud visitor centre, which incorporates the Japanese Gardens and Horse Museum, contributing to a 7% rise in admissions revenue. Some 124,000 visitors generated over €1.2m in income last year.
The Irish National Stud’s chief executive John Osborne stepped down from his position at the start of July after serving the maximum seven-year term in the job.
His role has been taken over by Cathal Beale, who started his career at the Irish National Stud before taking up various jobs with Paddy Power, the Racing Post, Forenaghts Stud and Tinnakill Bloodstock.
Mr Osborne has begun a new role with Horse Racing Ireland as chief executive of HRI Racecourses.
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