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Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final is Back

Fri 7 Aug 2020

Zero Ten and David Mullins winning the Connolly's Red Mills EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final. Punchestown Festival. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post 01.05.2019

Presentation of the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Series Final at the Punchestown Festival 2019 – The Final was won by Zero Ten, trained by Emmet Mullins, ridden by David Mullins and owned by Mrs. Mee. Patrick McCann/Racing Post 01.05.2019

Irish racing’s largest sponsor, Irish European Breeders’ Fund along with Connolly’s Red Mills have today announced a new date for the Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final, the popular final will now be run on Wednesday, October 28th at Punchestown racecourse.

The final, worth €65,000, will be open to all horses which ran in a qualifying auction hurdle race between August 2019 to March 2020 and have not won a Listed or Grade 1, 2 or 3 bumper or hurdle race. The final was originally scheduled to be run at the Punchestown Festival which was cancelled due to Covid-19. The 2019 final winner was Zero Ten, trained by Emmet Mullins who went on to win the Grade 3 Pierce Moloney Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles in March this year.

The 2020 and 2021 Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series will commence at Ballinrobe racecourse on Monday 10th August. It will be the first of 14 qualifying races that will run from August 2020 until March 2021 with the final scheduled for next year’s Punchestown Festival. Irish EBF are pleased to supplement the drop in prize-money, due to Covid-19 related cuts, and restore the value of each race to €20,000. The €5,000 Weatherbys/ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme will remain in place for all races in the series. The conditions for the qualifying races specify that all horses must be EBF eligible and bought as an unraced three or four-year-old at a recognised National Hunt Store sale for €45,000/€30,000 or less, with weight allowances depending on the purchase price.

William Flood, Irish EBF Governor, said; “It is great to announce the rescheduling of the final and the resumption of the 2020/2021 series right before the start of the store sales in Ireland. It gives owners, trainers and vendors at the sales a lucrative series of races to target. The Irish EBF are working closely with HRI to ensure all National Hunt funds which were not distributed during the suspension of racing are re-allocated to National Hunt EBF races before the end of this year.”

Eric McNamara, trainer, said; “It is a wonderful series and it is great news to have the final back on the schedule and to have the next series starting in Ballinrobe, which is especially welcome in these times. Well done to Irish EBF for keeping the prize-money up for the series, and a big thank you goes to Connolly’s Red Mills for continuing to support the series. I have two horses already in mind for the final and there will be huge interest from trainers with eligible runners come October.”

Tom Mullins, trainer, said; “Barnaviddaun was second in two of his starts last season and won the final leg in Downpatrick, he was a €9,500 store and won nearly €20,000 prize-money in the series alone, which is great for his owners. He’s back in training after his summer break and it would be hard not to target the final with the prize-money on offer. I have always been a big fan of both the Foran Equine and RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction series and thankfully we have been lucky and won a number of races within both series.”

Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “It has been a challenging few months for the industry and we have all had to adapt, we recognise and appreciate the effort being made by all to sustain the racing programme and we are proud to continue to support both the Foran Equine 2-year-old Auction Series and the RED MILLS Auction Hurdle Series. It is fantastic to be able to stage the RED MILLS Irish EBF Final at Punchestown, and with a significant prize-fund on offer, it presents a super opportunity for those horses that are qualified.”


For Further Information:

Nessa Joyce, Manager, Irish European Breeders’ Fund

Greenhills, Kill, Naas, Co Kildare, W91 FY62

M: +353 85 7590970, E: Twitter & Facebook: @IrishEBF

EBF accolade announced ahead of TBA Flat Breeders’ Awards 2020

Tue 21 Jul 2020


The British European Breeders’ Fund (British EBF) are sponsoring a brand-new award at this year’s virtual TBA Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening.  The European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award, developed by the trustees, celebrates a British based stallion who has made a significant impact during the previous flat season.

The British EBF has long supported prize money in racing, enabling over 500 flat races a year to be run above minimum value.  The contributions that provide these valuable prize money enhancements are, in the main, made by stallions standing at stud in Great Britain.  The European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award is a new avenue through which the British EBF thank domestic stallion owners and celebrate the achievements of their horses.

James McHale, British EBF trustee and selection committee member commented:

“The award was specifically designed not to be just another statistic driven accolade. It means stallions covering smaller numbers of mares, standing at lower fees and producing fantastic results despite having fewer runners can get the recognition they deserve for their achievements.

There are a huge number of sires in Great Britain that far out-perform their covering fee or sales average and given that “leading sire awards” tend to focus on winners or prize money totals, meaning horses with the highest number of runners in any one season are at a perpetual advantage, this new award is a great platform through which stallions with fewer runners can be recognised.”

The long list of stallions was taken from the Stallion of the Month features which appear in the European Bloodstock News with support from the British EBF.  The features highlight a stallion standing in GB at the time of writing who have excelled with their offspring in the preceding month. Amy Bennett, Managing Editor of the publication and selection committee member explained:

“Producing the monthly Stallion Focus articles, supported by the British EBF, has really called attention to the diversity and strength of the British stallion market and hopefully highlights to breeders some of the less obvious stallions who are out-performing their fee, as well as celebrating the achievements of those in the upper echelons. Some of the highest-achieving stallions will of course always appear in the nomination list for this award but it also gives a very positive avenue for every stallion that achieves noteworthy success.”

TBA Chief Executive Claire Sheppard added:

“We are delighted to be working with the EBF team and their development of this new award which will recognise an outstanding achievement from a stallion within the domestic market. The criteria of this award ensures that significant achievements are duly rewarded and recognised, looking beyond the realms of statistics to support a broad and diverse thoroughbred breeding industry.  We would like to thank the BEBF Trustees for developing and supporting this award which will be presented at our virtual Flat Breeders’ Awards Evening online.”

The judging panel has been taken from across the industry and has been joined by guest judge Oisin Murphy to select the overall winner of the award.


European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award Short List (2019 achievements):






The winner will be decided by the selection committee and the winner announced on the day of the virtual TBA Flat Breeders’ event.


European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award Selection Committee:

Anita Wigan                        TBA Trustee

James McHale                   British EBF Trustee

Amy Bennett                     European Bloodstock News Managing Editor

Cheryl Caves                      Operations Manager, EBF

Guest judge Oisin Murphy, Champion Jockey 2019.

European Breeders’ Fund Stallion Special Merit Award Long List (2019 achievements):










Irish EBF Barrier Trials to resume at Dundalk on July 29th

Wed 15 Jul 2020

Barrier Trials for unraced two-year-old and three-year-old horses will resume at Dundalk Stadium on Wednesday July 29

Barrier Trials for unraced two-year-old and three-year-old horses will resume at Dundalk Stadium on Wednesday July 29

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, with the backing of the Irish European Breeders’ Fund and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, is resuming Barrier Trials for unraced 2yo and 3yo horses at Dundalk Stadium on July 29th.

The Barrier Trials are being staged to meet the strong demand from overseas for quality unraced thoroughbreds and will return on the brand-new polytrack surface at Dundalk where they were first staged in 2018.

Entries opened on July 15th and will close on July 24th and the Terms & Conditions are listed on the ITM website

The Irish EBF Barrier Trials will operate under the same Covid-19 protocols in operation on regular race days at present.

ITM is very grateful to everyone who has supported the concept to date and is especially thankful to have gained the backing of the Irish EBF, the largest sponsor of racing in Ireland.

John O’Connor, Chairman of the Irish EBF, said:  “Now, more than ever, the Barrier Trials will provide a valuable opportunity for the Irish bloodstock industry to showcase a proven quality product to a wider market and we are pleased to play our part by supporting them at Dundalk in July and hopefully again in August.”

Another date for the Irish EBF Barrier Trials is scheduled for August 24th, pending approval from those with whom ITM cooperates.

Significant changes announced to Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes

Fri 10 Jul 2020

Naas Racecourse Announce The Ballyhane Stud Irish EBF Will Be Richest Race Run At The Course In 2020 18/2/2020

(L-R) Trainer Karl Burke, Johnny Murtagh, Dermot Cantillon, Chairman of Naas Racecourse, Joe Foley Owner Ballyhane Stud, Nessa Joyce, Manager Irish EBF and trainer Kevin Ryan. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Horse Racing Ireland has today announced a number of significant changes to the conditions for the inaugural running of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes (Median Auction Race) at Naas Racecourse on Sunday, August 23. This new event is aimed at the progeny of sires with a median of no more than €75,000 at last year’s yearling sales.

The value of the race, which attracted an Irish record high 563 entries, has been increased from €200,000 to €320,000, making the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes the most valuable two-year-old race that will be run in Ireland this year.

The winner will receive €150,000 and prize money will be paid to all 20 runners, with connections of the final five horses to finish each receiving €2,000. There will be a 72-hour declaration stage for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes and overseas-trained runners will be permitted.

Due to the unprecedented level of initial entries, a consolation race with a value of €80,000 will also now be run at Naas on the same card. The Silver Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes (Median Auction Race) will be automatically open to all those horses still entered which receive a ballot number in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes. A 48-hour declaration will apply and once again, overseas-trained runners will be permitted to participate. Prize money will be paid down to 10th place.

The next forfeit date for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is this coming Wednesday, July 15 with a final forfeit stage on August 18. The fee for both these last two forfeits has been reduced from €500 each to €200 and €100 respectively, bringing the total cost of running down from €1500 to €800. As per the original race conditions, the final two forfeit fees (now totalling €300) will be refunded to the owners of any horses that are eliminated from the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes if those horses are not declared in or are balloted from the Silver Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes.

Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said: ‘We have been thrilled with the response to the race and delighted to reward the owners and trainers who have entered with the increased prize money for the main race and with the extra race. There are some exciting two-year-olds already targeting the contest and it should be a great occasion at Naas in August.”

Jason Morris, HRI Director of Racing, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to announce a consolation race to reflect the demand for this new event, along with a doubling in the total prize money fund from the original figure of €200,000 to €400,000 between the two races, and a significant reduction in the cost of entry. HRI is very grateful to the Irish European Breeders Fund and Ballyhane Stud for their continuing support of this exciting new initiative.”

Eamonn McEvoy, General Manager of Naas Racecourse, said: “We were thrilled here at Naas Racecourse last year when it was announced that we would be hosting a €200,000 race but to actually see that rise to a €320,000 race is absolutely fantastic. Joe Foley, Nessa Joyce and the team at HRI have put great effort into making this a reality and deserve great credit. The Board at Naas Racecourse are delighted, and we look forward to hosting the richest race in Naas Racecourse’s history.”