DUNMORE East native Niall Power, whose skills in the thoroughbred industry took him from Coolmore Stud all the way to Australia, died on Saturday last, February 20 following a battle with cancer. He was 61 years old.
Born in Waterford on March 17, 1959, Niall’s parents, Kathleen and Stanley, were the proprietors of the popular Ocean Hotel in Dunmore. Niall could actually ride a horse before he could walk, offering an early indication of where his future lay.
Sibling to Stan and Joyce and educated at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare, Niall’s professional association with the thoroughbred industry began at the famed Coolmore Stud outside Fethard in South Tipperary, where he worked as Stud Manager.
As a 19-year-old, Niall enjoyed a working holiday in Australia, not knowing the extent that the continent would play in the rewarding years that lay ahead.
Ultimately, Niall, his wife Imelda – a nurse from Tipperary – and son Robert, then aged one, switched hemispheres, departing Ireland for Australia, where he was appointed Stud Manager at Brian Agnew’s Wakefield Stud in 1987.
Five years later, the Power family, by then also including daughter Lisa, returned to Ireland before ultimately and permanently returning to Australia in 1997.
Since 2012, Niall had worked as Australian Racing Manager of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing (HTR), a successful international operation which offers shares in racehorses they put together to form racing syndicates.
In addition, Niall was Director of Sire Custodians Ltd, “the leading supplier of syndicate documentation and management consultancy services to the Australian thoroughbred industry”.
As his biography on the Highclere website notes, Niall operated “his own IT Company with a thoroughbred industry focus…Sire Custodians Ltd is the leading supplier of syndicate documentation and management consultancy services to the Australian thoroughbred industry. Niall is the Authorised Representative for Xcira in Australia, the Global Leader in Live & Timed Auction Technologies.
“Niall’s achievements in IT relating to the thoroughbred industry include co-founding Streaming Media Australia, which was the first company outside of the USA to broadcast live on the internet a thoroughbred horse auction sale (at the Gold Coast Magic Millions) and conducting the world’s first online auction of unborn thoroughbred foals. Niall was the first to introduce Live Online bidding to leading auction houses in Australia, UK and France.”
A “constant support” and great colleague
Paying tribute to his personal friend following last Saturday’s sad news, HTR Chairman and Managing Director Harry Herbert said Niall was “a constant support to racing managers Dane Robinson, Tess Drennan and now Andrew Hawkins. Niall got huge pleasure every time we had a winner and my phone would light up with his post-race comments and the general chat that followed. We spoke often and in recent months he took complete control of the business as we searched for a replacement for Tess.
“He was so excited when Andrew appeared on the scene and, despite being confined to hospital over the past few weeks, he tirelessly acted to ensure that all shareowners were kept informed as well as tutoring Andrew into his new role.”
Mr Herbert continued: “Niall’s charm and gentle manner touched everyone who met him and we will all miss him hugely. He had great ambitions for Highclere Australia and I know with Andrew now at the helm we will do everything we can to ensure that those ambitions are realised.”
Former HTR racing manager Dane Robinson credited Niall’s enthusiasm for Highclere’s many successes. “It’s a sad day to think we won’t see Niall’s smiling face at the races, read his upbeat and light-hearted progress reports, or enjoy a celebratory winning drink with him again,” he said.
“Niall loved his association with his ‘Highclere family’ and there were few who held the passion he did for the horses who donned the famous two-tone blue. The memories we have of chasing the likes Libran, Opinion and others up and down the Eastern seaboard with owners will be cherished for a lifetime and beyond. He became a dear friend to us all.
“For me, Niall will be remembered for all the right reasons of being a good, honest man who was always available for advice and generous of his time. A gift he had in short supply following his diagnosis.”
Describing Niall as “always positive, generous and thinking ahead,” Mr Robinson said: “We’ve all been fortunate to have shared a part of Niall’s life with horses, an area he could spend hours conversing over. I will certainly miss those conversations, the long lunches and good times shared with Niall during my time working closely with him, and I am sure this is reflected amongst not only the Highclere owners, but all of those who were fortunate enough to know him.”
Niall Power is survived by his wife Imelda, his children Robert and Lisa, son-in-law David Lai-Kwon, daughter-in-law Maryham Farag Robert, his grandson Ollie and siblings Stan (Dunmore East) and Joyce Klassen (San Ramon, California). May he Rest In Peace.
* With thanks to Mailo Power and Highclere Thoroughbred Racing