Invincible Spirit on show for monarch’s trip
THE queen will meet one of Europe's most valuable breeding stallions -- the €20m Invincible Spirit -- during her short visit to the Irish National Stud.
Queen Elizabeth is understood to be keen to see as many horses as possible during her visit to the key breeding enterprise in Kildare.
However, her time at the National Stud will last less than 60 minutes because of her busy schedule.
Intensive preparations are already under way for the planned visit to the facility on the morning of Thursday, May 19. John Osborne, the chief executive of the commercial state enterprise, said they were "honoured" to be on the queen's itinerary given that she's an avid racing follower and bloodstock breeder.
Invincible Spirit, the stud's flagship stallion and one of the top five stallions in Europe, will be displayed to her, while she'll be greeted by Irish National Stud chairperson Lady Chryss O'Reilly, before meeting well-known jockeys, trainers, farriers, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and many of the stud's 22 management students.
Public visiting to the stud in Tully, Co Kildare, will be restricted for a number of days prior to the visit, amid a strict security operation co-ordinated by gardai and British police.
"The overall visit is expected to attract over 1,000 foreign press from all over the world," Mr Osborne said yesterday.
"It is a huge opportunity for us to showcase ourselves but also the wider Irish involvement in bloodstock.
"I hope we are not associated with something negative."
Staff were yesterday busy manicuring the lawns, painting and spring cleaning key areas of the almost 1,000 acres of top-class lands and stabling which attract 100,000 visitors a year.
The stud was one of the commercial bodies highlighted by economist Colm McCarthy as a potential option for the State to sell to raise much-needed cash.
But the stud argued the State had received 65 years of activity for a once-off investment of €13.8m and the purchase of the farm at Tully.