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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.

British EBF welcome new Chairman and trustees for 2020

Thu 28 Nov 2019

British EBF Chairman Simon Sweeting (left)

British EBF Chairman Simon Sweeting (left)

ONE of Britain’s top prize money supporters, the British EBF, announced today that Simon Sweeting of Overbury Stud would replace Philp Mitchell as Chairman of the board of trustees from January 2020. 

The trustees also welcomed two new members, beginning their terms in the New Year: European Editor of the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN), Emma Berry and Gary Middlebrook currently a Trustee of Racing Welfare.  Both are successful owner/ breeders and bring a range of skills to the British EBF board.

Bloodstock Consultant and Non-Executive Director of The National Stud, Philip Mitchell, led his final meeting as BEBF Chairman earlier this week.

Simon Sweeting commented:

“I am looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Chairmanship of the British arm of the European Breeders’ Fund from 2020 and on behalf of the trustees, thank Philip for his enthusiastic leadership over the last three years.  The British EBF continues to provide a unique and much needed industry funded mechanism for supporting racing’s prize money; I hope that the work that myself and the BEBF trustees do, can secure and enhance the health of the British EBF for the future.”

Emma Berry commented:

“With prize-money in this country under threat from several quarters, the financial support that British racing receives from the BEBF has not just been maintained but has increased in recent years. I am therefore delighted to be joining this vital and much respected organisation at a time when its work is more important than ever.”

Gary Middlebrook commented:

“Having been involved in racing and breeding for many years, and having served as a racecourse director in the past, I know how important EBF funding is to the developmental races in the programme. I am looking forward to working with the trustees and executive to take the British EBF forward and learning more about the crucial support they provide for owners’ prize money.”

The British EBF is funded mainly by British stallion studs and as a result of their contributions, it invested £1.7million in to prize money in this country during 2019.

British EBF Trustees 2020:

Simon Sweeting (Chairman)

Emma Berry (Independent)

Sam Bullard (Darley Stallions)

Fiona Denniff (Independent)

James McHale (Independent)

Gary Middlebrook (Independent)

Simon Mockridge (Juddmonte Farms)

Chris Richardson (Cheveley Park Stud)

Julian Richmond Watson (TBA)

Claire Sheppard (TBA)


Author: Rachael Gowland

Photo credit: Hoy Cubed Photogrpahy (John Hoy)