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A day in the life of a... Nominations Executive

03 November 2015

About Me

My name is Kevin Sommerville and I work for Juddmonte Farms.

I was born in Pretoria, South Africa.  I went to school at Pretoria Boys High School and after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and Genetics I headed over to work in Dublin and wound up at a famous Irish Bar called Kielys of Donnybrook.

I watch a lot of racing during those 6 month and decide this was the career path for me.  I began work in the horseracing industry at Ballylinch Stud in 2002.  I had no previous experience of working with horses and thus knew I had to start at the bottom.

I completed the Irish National Stud course in 2003, I then spent two years as part of the second Darley flying start programme, travelling around the world working and learning about every part of the industry.  After the course I spent 2 years in South Africa working for bloodstock agent Robin Bruss (Northfields Bloodstock), during that time I traveled to the US where I gained experience in the Sales Department at Keeneland working with Geoffrey Russell and Tom Thornbury.  At the end of 2008 I was appointed in my current role as Nominations Executive at Juddmonte Farms.

About The Job

A nominations executive is a specialist marketing type role at at Stud.  At Juddmonte we stand 8 stallions and it’s basically the nomination teams’ job to fill the stallions for the current year. We are the first port of call for most clients and that means a lot of answering the phone and following up on clients.

Most clients know what they want but a good proportion will ask us for recommendations, we give a fair amount of mating and pedigree advice. Clients will often come to see the stallions so it’s imperative that you know your stallion’s statistics, pedigree, progeny and conformation well.

During the summer I will try to see as many foals and clients of the stallions as possible. I try to attend all major thoroughbred sales and will also try to attend the major race meetings.  The nominations team is heavily involved in the advertising of the stallions and will collate, present ideas and statistics to the Marketing department.


The job I do does not require any core qualifications but these are the ones that  I have achieved.   I am sure you will find very varied qualifications for others working as nominations executives.

  1. Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Zoology
  2. Irish National Stud breeding course
  3. Darley Flying Start Diploma. 
  4. Work experience is a key component of the Industry.
My Advice

If you are willing to get your hands dirty for a couple of years it is very easy to get involved in the Racing and Breeding Industry. You certainly don’t have to ride or have worked with horses before but it does help but most importantly you need to be passionate about racing.

I had never worked with horses before, but the Racing Industry and especially the breeding industry fascinated me.

 I would try to work for the best farms or yards you can. That way you learn the best advice to take forward. I would try getting some sort of qualifications especially the Irish and English National Stud courses as they provide an excellent base knowledge to start with.

The Darley Flying Start is simply out of this world and the knowledge and contacts gained will put you in good stead for a lifetime. For background knowledge on breeding I would read as many books as possible and look at as many stallion directory’s that way you begin to get a feel for the farms and the horses. Hard work will go along way in the Horse Industry the difficult part is not starting but staying in the Industry.

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