The National Stud has been owned by the Jockey Club since 2008.
From our 500 acres site on the outskirts of Newmarket, England we aim to facilitate three main objectives for the good of the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry.
1. To provide a comprehensive range of services of the highest quality to the Thoroughbred breeding industry at affordable prices including stallion services, seasonal and permanent boarding, foaling, sales preparation and spelling facilities.
2. To provide internationally renowned training facilities that give young people entering the Thoroughbred breeding industry top class training opportunities. We also provide a selection of shorter courses for individuals wishing to increase their skills base.
3. Through our public tours, we aim to be an accessible “shop window” helping to raise peoples’ interest and knowledge of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.
The National Stud was founded in 1916 when Lord Wavertree (also known as Colonel William Hall Walker) donated his stud farm and bloodstock to the British Government.
The farm was located on the edge of the Curragh, Ireland and was called the Tully Stud. The original aim of the institution was to spear head a breeding programme to supply the Government with high quality light weight cavalry horses for use in war campaigns around the world. The technological advances in artillery and warfare meant the need for this programme was short lived but the Government retained the site and horses and concentrated instead on the improvement of the Thoroughbred breed.
Early success came to the breeding operation and throughout the history of the Stud several high profile horses have been bred. An early star came in the form of BLANDFORD (foaled in 1919) who went on to become one of the most successful sires of the 1920’s producing a total of 11 Classic winners including 4 Derby winners. Most famous however was SUN CHARIOT; foaled in 1939 this talented filly won the Triple Crown of 1,000gns, The Oaks and the St Leger in 1942. She is immortalised with a race bearing her name which is run on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse each year.
During the 1940’s the newly formed Republic of Ireland purchased the land at the Tully Stud from the British Government and founded an Irish National Stud on the site which still stands today. This institution mirrors the modern aims of our own National Stud and attracts huge numbers of bloodstock clients and tourist visitors from around the world as well as providing training courses in a similar vein to our own.
In 1963 the newly established Levy Board was directed to run the Stud and five hundred acres in Newmarket was leased from the Jockey Club. Peter Burrell was responsible for the layout of yards around the stud as they are today. The stable blocks were named after Jockey Club members well known in the 19th Century racing world. Two blocks were named after the key individuals that were responsible in the establishment of the National Stud: Wavertree and Burrell.
In 1973 Paul Mellon’s brilliant MILL REEF retired to the National Stud to begin a hugely successful career as a stallion. During this life he sired two Derby winners – Shirley Heights and Reference Point. A statue of MILL REEF stands in front of the Stallion Unit to commemorate the stallion career of one of the world’s greatest racehorses.
In addition to usual stud activities, public tours began in the mid 1970’s. A decade later, the Stud’s full-time education and training programs started and continue to be extremely well respected. These courses represent the main access for stud staff into the Thoroughbred breeding industry.
The National Stud was bought from the Levy Board by The Jockey Club in 2008 and is now a private company. Under our new ownership, the Stud maintains a strong commitment to the Thoroughbred breeding industry both commercially and through the continued provision of education and training to students and the general public.