Growing up on a farm in Ireland’s County Kildare, Sophie has spent her life surrounded by and working with horses. In her teens she trained with international dressage instructor Gisele Holstein before spells with renowned Irish show producer Frances Cash, going on to land her first Champion at the Royal Dublin Horse Show, aged 17.

Pursuing her dream to work within the racing industry, Sophie became assistant to Shadwell Racing Manager, Angus Gold and Derrinstown Stud Manager, Hubie de Burgh, travelling to bloodstock sales in the UK, US, Ireland and France, developing a keen eye for horses with premium potential.

On graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a BA in Rural Resource Management and an MBA in Equine Business Management from the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Sophie joined Darley as a Marketing Executive.

In 2006, Sophie and her husband Charles bought Culworth Grounds intent on developing the farm and its equestrian potential. Since then, under their direction, Culworth has grown to accommodate a number of equestrian disciplines and is now the base from which Sophie runs her showing and racing operations as well as it being a working farm.

Mother to Albert and Athena, Sophie continues to ride as a hobby, in recent years producing champions at the Royal Dublin Horse Show, Royal Windsor, Royal International Horse Show and The SHB Hunter Championships, alongside many other wins at county level.


Kate Leatherbarrow

Having qualified at Hartpury College attaining her breeding NDHM, Kate our new Foaling Manager is in charge of all the mares and foals based at Culworth Grounds. Joining from Hesmonds Stud, Kate has had a wide range of experience over the last 12 years working with mares, foals, yearlings and international eventers. Kate is highly active, enjoying marathon running and riding motorbikes.


Maira ferkdadji

My has grown up with horses and qualified with a degree in biochemistry, physiology and neurosciences. With a masters in nutrition and food safety she spent 7 years as Quality Manager in the food industry. At Culworth Grounds My is responsible for quality control and oversees all the work and management on the yard. My has implemented Equicty, a new horse management software which records each horses regime down to exercise, worming and medication. As an accomplished rider My enjoys schooling, hacking and keeps nimble by practicing Pilates.

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Katina nason

Our new yearling manager Kat is joining us from Coln Valley Stud. She is in charge of making sure all our yearlings look and feel fantastic for sale day. She has worked many seasons previously prepping yearlings with top vendors across the world, whilst gaining her vet nursing qualification along the way.


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Danny riley

Having worked in the racing industry for a number of years, Danny knows thoroughbreds inside and out. She exercises the race horses, tailoring to their specific needs, so they are ready to go back into training. In her spare time Danny also trains her own point to pointers.


lucy steel

Alongside gaining her BSc in Equestrian Sports Science, Lucy has worked within a range of equestrian disciplines. Recently returning from working a season of yearling prep at Widden Stud, she will be splitting her time at Culworth working in the office and with our yearlings.


Bridget gatehouse

Bridget Gatehouse graduated from Liverpool University in 1995 and has worked solely in equine veterinary practice for 19 years and is now a Director of her own practice, Walnut Hill Equine. Bridget's expertise lies in reproduction and is a brilliant asset to have onside during the breeding season


Vanessa Ryle and Sophie Harden

With a combined 10 years experience in PR, Media and Marketing Sophie and Vanessa are on call when needed. Working for At The Races, Vanessa is the knowledge on racing consistently updating social media - tweeting and posting. Sophie a professional artist based at the Culworth Grounds Office, brings her creativity and years of marketing skills to help on website development, photography and brand communication. Both are paid handsomely in gin and tonics


Lucy Yates

Lucy has worked for Culworth Grounds for over 4 years as The Office Manager. As an invaluable part of Culworth Grounds, Lucy holds the team together and keeps all the cogs of the machine in motion.