Horse racing in Ireland has long been used to plundering major prizes on a global stage. This weekend it is playing on home soil with the Longines sponsored Champions Weekend.
The glitterati of the international bloodstock world will be stepping out at Leopardstown on Saturday and then at the Curragh on Sunday where one of the feature races is the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
It has taken place under that name since 1973, making it one of the longest running commercial sponsorships in world sport.
Moyglare Stud was bought by Walter Haefner in 1962 and turned into one of the worlds most successful breeding operations. It has remained in family ownership throughout and is overseen today by Haefner’s daughter Eva-Maria Boucher Haefner who inherited it in 2012.
We sat down this week with Fiona Craig of Moyglare Stud to learn a little of how sponsorship at the highest level works for them.
You are major sponsors at the Curragh on Sunday. How has your relationship developed through the growth of the Longines Champions Weekend?
We have always had a very good relationship with the Curragh going back over 40 years and the development of the Group One race named for the stud has produced more than it’s fair share of Champion two-year-old fillies in this time.
However, as times change, and people view leisure and entertainment activities differently, racing has moved towards its big feature days and events.
We embraced the concept of Champions Weekend when first suggested and indeed the Moyglare Stud sponsor logo for the day says that we are a Proud Partner of Irish Champions Weekend.
We also at that point added another good fillies race into the sponsor package for the day, the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes, a Group Two race for fillies and mares over 10f. We were supporters at the very start and our support continues as we move forward.
Is it important to have such strong international visibility?
Racing is very much an international and Moyglare Stud is an international operation, so yes, it is important and a good mix for us.
We have horses in training in both Ireland and the USA and have won or bred the winners of top Group One races all over the world, from England, France, and of course Ireland, to the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
Everyone now travels horses all over the globe almost easier than people, so racing is without question a true International sport and that is highlighted by events such as Irish Champions Weekend.
Moyglare’s history of engagement with the Curragh goes back a long way, how exciting is the redevelopment for next year?
The first Moyglare Stud Stakes was run at the Curragh in 1973, won by the Kevin Prendergast trained Milly Whiteway for the Doyle family.
We have all come a long way from that, though fortunately, Kevin Prendergast is wearing better than the “old” Curragh!
The redevelopment is long overdue but extremely exciting and we are going to have a magnificent stand and racecourse facilities at completion.
The Curragh has always had one of the best actual race tracks in the world and now we will finally have the facilities to match.
Moyglare Stud owner Eva-Maria Bucher Haefner is one of the private investors and the re-development project has long had the support of the Haefner family.
As a sponsor how will you engage with the course on the day?
Eva always brings some beautiful and unique trophies from Switzerland for the winning connections of both the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes.
As usual, we will provide prizes for the stable staff in terms of winners and best turned out in our two races, and we continue our annual sponsorship of the Stable Staff canteen.
There will also be a little bit of Swiss chocolate floating around so keep your eyes open for that.
Before the redevelopment commenced, we had established the very popular Moyglare KidZone area, but that had to be suspended for the last two years due to lack of space during the construction.
It may come back one day though, possibly on the 60th anniversary of Moyglare Stud which is coming soon in 2022.
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