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British EBF Veterinary Research Support tops £1.25 million

Wed 22 Apr 2020


Recent veterinary research has been into alternative worming methods in youngstock

Recent veterinary research has been into alternative worming methods in young-stock

THE British European Breeders’ Fund (BEBF) is acknowledged as one of the most important contributors to racing’s prize money; with a total of £36,000,000 distributed over nearly 4 decades of existence. What may go unnoticed however, is our consistent support of veterinary research and, more recently, increased community engagement within racing. Over the next two weeks, we will be show-casing our work in both these areas.

To date, the British EBF has directly funded over £1,250,000 of equine veterinary research projects, in addition to our prize money allocations. More recently, the trustees have also lent regular support to both Racing Welfare and Racing to School (both official partners). Although the fund is precluded from making financial charitable donations, these unique partnerships mean the we can provide support in other ways.

Since 2000, the British EBF has wholly or partly funded veterinary research covering subjects as diverse as the Equine Genome Project and the identification of virulence factors associated with Rhodococcus. In recent years, the focus has been on research specifically relating to the breeding industry and has covered areas such as the effects of light and temperature on delayed ovulation and an extensive study in to potential alternatives to traditional parasite control in thoroughbred mares and young-stock.

Mindful of the challenges that modern Thoroughbred racing and breeding brings, in 2003, the trustees set up a contingency fund of £50,000 to finance research in the initial stages of an equine disease outbreak in GB.  The fund is ring-fenced and organisations requiring immediate help to combat a disease outbreak in the thoroughbred population are eligible apply.

Historically, annual grants were awarded to the Animal Health Trust (AHT), helping purchase vital equipment such as an MRI scanner and funding investigations into various areas of equine viral research.

Latterly, a significant amount of BEBF funding was utilised by the Bacteriology Department of the AHT in a ground-breaking project into Strangles (Equine Distemper).  Over 5 years from 2009, the department worked on a paper entitled “Breaking the Strangles Hold” with research leading to the decoding of the genome of the bacterium, Streptococcus Equi, that causes the disease. The team were able to develop an Elisa blood test to detect the presence of Strangles. Over 7,000 samples were tested in its first 6 years; vastly reducing the spread and incidence of the disease by providing a means of testing horses prior to movement between geographical sites, thereby reducing infection rates.

In 2013 the British EBF joined the Levy Board and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA), establishing a co-ordinated approach to funding veterinary research via a Small Grants Scheme. Each year, a selection of research projects is put forward for consideration for the organisations to fund either jointly or independently.  This collaboration is an example of how the British EBF has been increasing its racing industry engagement.

From this combined approach, a three-year research project has been undertaken by Dr Laura Peachey at the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge. The study investigates host – parasite interactions in horses to inform potential alternative treatments of parasitic infections to reduce the current reliance on chemical treatment, for example traditional worm pastes and powders.  This investigation was brought to a close in 2019 and work is underway to assess the available projects for 2020 and beyond.

Record entries for an Irish race in the new Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes

Wed 15 Apr 2020

Horse Racing Ireland has today announced a record high 563 entries for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, the inaugural running of which is scheduled for Naas Racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday August 3, 2020.

The new contest, which is aimed at the progeny of sires with a median of no more than €75,000 at last year’s yearling sales, has attracted 345 Irish-based entries, 217 from Britain and one from America, a colt owned by Stonestreet Stables, now in the care of Wesley Ward. There are 289 colts and geldings, including Poetic Flare winner of the opening 2yo race of the season for Jim Bolger at Naas, and 274 fillies among those nominated.

In consultation with the race sponsors, Irish EBF and Ballyhane Stud, HRI has committed to examine increasing the €200,000 prize fund and to investigate the staging of a consolation race on the same day for those horses who do not make the final field in the feature race. This would give owners and trainers with entries an additional opportunity to avail of valuable prize money.

In the light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation the first forfeit stage will be deferred from April 22nd to an unconfirmed later date that will be announced when there is a clearer indication of the resumption of racing and dates for the breeze-up sales.

Jason Morris, HRI Director of Racing, said; “The level of initial entries for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has exceeded our expectations and demonstrates the popularity of this new concept. Once the picture becomes clearer over the timing and basis for a resumption of racing, we will evaluate the feasibility of increasing the prize money for the feature race and/or the creation of a consolation event. We can look forward to a very competitive and high quality contest in what will hopefully be better times.”

Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said; “I was delighted with the response to the race and a big thank you goes to all the owners and trainers who have entered two-year-olds, especially to the 81 Ballyhane Stud sired entries, who are in with a chance to win the €50,000 bonus if they win the race. It’s going to be a very exciting race at Naas and the huge prize money will be something to look forward to in these uncertain times”

John O’Connor, Chairman, Irish EBF, said; “The board are encouraged to see yet another Irish EBF initiative being so well received by the industry and look forward to this race becoming an established feature of the flat season for two-year-olds. Irish EBF are fully committed to continuing with race sponsorship when racing resumes and we will work closely with HRI when the time comes.”

To view the list of entries click here – RACE ENTRIES ON HRI RAS WEBSITE


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

Ballyhane Stud offer €50,000 Bonus to Winner of New €200,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes Race

Tue 18 Feb 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 pictured with Ballyhane stallion Dandy Man. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM and Median Sire List EBF Ballyhane race

Ballyhane Stud will offer a €50,000 bonus to the winning connections of the new €200,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, if they are by a Ballyhane sire. In addition, Ballyhane Stud  will give the winning breeder a free nomination to a Ballyhane stallion in 2021.

The six furlong race will be run on Bank Holiday Monday, 3rd August 2020 at Naas Racecourse and the early entry deadline is Wednesday 26th February at 12 noon. The race will be the richest race ever run at Naas Racecourse and is open to EBF eligible two-year-olds whose sire’s median price is no more than €75,000.

Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said “I’m delighted to support the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, a race which should be an exciting addition to the calendar. It’s a huge pot for owners and trainers to target and the €50k bonus for a Ballyhane sired winner is our way of rewarding supporters of our stallions.”

UK Trainer Karl Burke was present for the launch and commented:I have some lovely 2 year olds this year and I’ll definitely be targeting some of them at this new race. It’s a great prize and Naas has been a lucky track for me. The team at Naas do an excellent job at looking after their UK connections. Not only do they provide top class hospitality to the owners but also provide accommodation for the stable staff.”

Johnny Murtagh commented; “The Ballyhane Stakes is a great initiative for 2020 in the 2 year old racing calendar. It had a significant influence on my purchasing decisions at the yearling sales last autumn. It’s a great opportunity for everyone in racing to be in with a shout of winning a hugely valuable race. It also comes at a great time of the year, before the yearling sales of 2020.”

Speaking about the announcement, John O’Connor, Chairman, Irish EBF, said; “The concept behind the race is to offer connections of EBF eligible two-year-olds, where their sire’s median price is no more than €75,000, a lucrative race where they are competing against other similar valued horses who are either home breds or auction bought two-year-olds. By capping the sire’s median price, giving weight allowances to lower sire median prices and with the added incentive of the €50,000 Ballyhane Stud bonus, it creates more opportunities for two-year-olds and it is great to be part of something special.”

To view the list of sires with a median price of €75,000 or less, that can enter the race, click here - Median Sire List EBF Ballyhane race

For the complete list of sires including those outside the EU please visit


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 Valiant Stakes upgraded for 2020

Fri 31 Jan 2020

EBF103_Ascot-RacecardAd3-RaceTech-1920x1080 - Copy

The British EBF supported Valiant Stakes (Ascot) has been upgraded by the European Pattern Committee for 2020 from Listed status to Gr.3.

The Valiant Stakes has been run since its inception as a Conditions race in 1998, for fillies and mares over about 7f.  It is one of only three races in the European pattern to be upgraded this year. The British EBF have supported the race for 19 consecutive years, investing heavily in the race’s prize money to provide a mid-season developmental opportunity.

Rachael Gowland, Marketing and Communications Manager of the British EBF said: “We are delighted that the Valiant Stakes has been upgraded to Gr.3 status.  It is testament to the valuable investment the EBF makes in developmental races such as this and to the work that Ascot have put in to the race over the last 20 years.  Unfortunately, the EBF do not support Group level races in Great Britain so our support will no longer be attached to the race in its new form but we wish Ascot every success taking it forward and we will look to re-invest the prize money we will recoup elsewhere in the programme.”

The Valiant stakes has been an important stepping stone for fillies going on to compete that the highest level.  One of the most successful graduates of the race was EURO CHARLINE, a daughter of My Boy Charlie who went straight from winning at Ascot to win the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes in Arlington, USA.  She finished her racing career as runner up in both the Gr.1 Dubai Turf (Meydan) and Gr.1 Lockhinge Stakes (Newbury) before being bought by the Yoshida family to join their broodmare band.

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