By Alison Brassil
During the Goffs Orby Sale last week, it was apparent that there are a large number of Godolphin Flying Start graduates who are having a tremendous impact on the bloodstock industry. Barry Lynch, who joined Lillingston Bloodstock in 2012 after graduating from the programme, encapsulated the entrepreneurial spirit of the course when he decided to go out on his own and establish Lynch Bloodstock earlier this year. Current Godolphin Flying Starer Alison Brassil caught up with Barry to see how his first year as an independent bloodstock agent was going.
AB: Can you tell me a bit about your path to getting a place on Godolphin Flying Start?
BL: I grew up around horses on my family farm in Co.Cork. We were very lucky to breed horses like Lilly Langtry, Beaver Patrol and Close To You and it was those horses that really sparked my interest in racing. I spent some of my summers from school and university working for Brendan Holland’s Grove Stud, as well as various pre-trainers and consignors. It was after I studied business and law at UCD that I realised I wanted a career in racing and Godolphin Flying Start was a fantastic gateway into the industry.
AB: You recently started up your own bloodstock agency. How has the first year gone so far?
BL: It has been very positive, and interesting. I have been extremely fortunate that the horses I have bought so far have done very well. The first horse I bought after I went out on my own–in conjunction with Alastair Donald–Beat The Bank, has been a very prolific horse for Andrew Balding this year winning four of his five starts including a listed race, a Group 3 and the G2 Joel S. at Newmarket last Friday. Another filly that I bought, Madam Dancealot, won a Grade II and was Grade I-placed in the U.S. A lot of my business involves sourcing horses in training for foreign markets and I have been lucky enough to have a good base of clients to keep the business rolling. I have realised that going out on your own is so competitive but it is also extremely rewarding when you find a good horse.
AB: What are the most important qualities to have as a bloodstock agent and how did Godolphin Flying Start prepare you for it?
BL: Patience is a virtue in my job. To do well in anything, you have to work very hard and be diligent and disciplined. Those were qualities that I definitely got from Godolphin Flying Start. The education and the contacts that the course gives you really equips you well for a career in bloodstock.
AB: After Godolphin Flying Start, you worked for Lillingston Bloodstock for five years. What are the major changes you have noticed in the bloodstock industry since you started?
BL: It has definitely become a more international business and I’ve noticed that becoming more prevalent as my career is progressing. It seems that more and more business is done on a global scale, with Australians and Americans buying in Europe and vice versa. Another change has been that owners have become fewer in number but larger in terms of their own outfits; there are more super-power owners in the industry today as opposed to many small owners.
AB: What are the most important traits that you look for in a horse and what do you try to avoid?
BL: I like to see a horse with a bit of scope and length. They of course need to be correct with good limbs and good bone, however the real deciding factor is how they move and their action. A good walk and a good temperament is the most important thing.
AB: We are halfway through the yearling sale season. Do you have any comments on the current yearling market today?
BL: The yearling market seems very polarised in my view. There is great trade for the top-level yearlings with big pedigrees that are by the right stallions; however, there are fewer and fewer buyers there for the yearlings in the middle and lower end of the market.
AB: Are there any young sires whose first yearlings have impressed you at the sales this season?
BL: I have been quite impressed with the first yearlings by No Nay Never and Kingman (GB) that I’ve seen. They seem to be athletic, good-walking horses and I’m looking forward to seeing them on the racecourse next year.
AB: What is your advice for anyone aspiring to have a career in the bloodstock industry?
BL: My advice would be to work hard, listen to the people around you in the industry and be respectful. Be as friendly and as positive as you can. In the Thoroughbred industry, you have to be able to roll with the punches and keep staying in there. When it all works out, it is the most rewarding industry to work in.