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Fifteen trainers have entered seventeen horses for a chance to run in the €65,000 Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final over 2 miles and 4 furlongs at Punchestown on Wednesday 28th October, 2020. Six of the horses entered are already series winners having won their maidens during the 2019/2020 season. The average auction purchase price of all the horses entered is just under €11,000, with a maximum purchase price of €26,000 and the lowest at €1,200. Of the five fillies entered four are in with a chance to win first prize-money of €39,000 and the €5,000 Weatherbys/ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme if they are first past the post. The final, which was originally scheduled to be run at the Punchestown Festival, is open to all horses which ran in a qualifying auction hurdle race between August 2019 and March 2020 and have not won a Listed or Grade 1, 2 or 3 bumper or hurdle race.
Among the entries is Arcadian Sunrise, a recent winner on the flat for John Queally, he got off the mark in a qualifier at Thurles before following up in a Series Novice hurdle at Leopardstown in March. Dime a Dozen has been a model of consistency for John Hanlon and was an impressive winner in her maiden at Cork last October. Gold Speed was purchased for just €10,000 and now a three time winner his recent success over course and distance at Punchestown should leave the Adrian Murray trained son of Gold Well spot on for next week’s final. Finally, the Henry de Bromhead trained Fully Charged is the highest rated horse entered in the final, a €7,000 Tattersalls Ireland August graduate who has already won his purchase price back by winning his qualifier in Limerick last Christmas.
Shark Hanlon, trainer, said; “Dime A Dozen definitely runs and I’m delighted with her. We’ll give her a little bit of a blow over the weekend, and that should leave her right. I’ve been delighted with her all season and she is just rock solid. The Red Mills Irish EBF Series is brilliant and it’s great for trainers like me who have to work off a certain budget at the sales. There is a great bunch of lads involved with her and all roads lead to Punchestown on Wednesday.”
Adrian Murray, trainer of Gold Speed, said; “It’s a great series and he deserves a crack at a good race like this. He has won a bumper and two hurdle races for us and he is a horse that is going the right way. He was very good the last day in a handicap hurdle at Punchestown and he’ll do a little bit here in the morning and assuming that goes well, he’ll run in the final on Wednesday. On ratings he has his chance and it’s a great initiative and it’s a lovely pot to be running for.”
Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager, said; “The Red Mills Irish EBF auction hurdle series has given owners, trainers and vendors at the sales a lucrative series of races to target with their horses, we are delighted to see such quality entries in the rescheduled final, and would like to thank connections for supporting the final and the series to date. The 2020/2021 series is already up and running and the plan is to host the 2021 final in its regular slot at the Punchestown festival.”
Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “With all the current challenges, it’s great to have the Final to look forward too – we have all had to continue to adapt and we recognise and appreciate the huge effort being made by everyone to stage RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final. It’s great to see such a broad spread of trainers represented and we are delighted to be able to support the Final where a significant prize-fund is on offer, it presents a super opportunity for those horses taking part.”
Thanks to the health of the domestic National Hunt stallion market in recent years; the trustees of the British EBF are pleased to announce that support for the 2020/ 2021 Jumps Season will remain unchanged at around £120,000.
The money is divided between the ever-popular National Hunt Novice Hurdle Series with its final at Sandown in March and 3 initiatives to support National Hunt mares. These include series with finals for National Hunt bred mares over hurdles and chase fences and a non-qualifier-based programme of mares’ bumpers.
In line with the British EBF aim of ensuring all funding is directed to prize money, 100% of their contributions to National Hunt races this season are to be reflected above the BHA minimum value of a race.
Simon Sweeting, Chairman of the British EBF and owner of successful National Hunt stallion stud, Overbury, commented:
“The British EBF National Hunt support is lower than our contribution to flat racing but it is proportional to the income we receive from National Hunt/ Dual Purpose stallions and to the number of races we cover under each code. We support around 85 jumps races each season, against a figure of nearer 700 for flat racing.
Our £120,000 prize money enhancement is vital in a season such as this. Owners can be confident that where they see EBF in a race title, the prize money is guaranteed to be higher than the required BHA minimum value for the class.
We are very grateful for all our contributions, from both flat and national hunt stallion owners, who have contributed a combined total of £36 million since 1983.
A full field will fight for the €120,000 on offer this Sunday at Naas Racecourse in the sixth running of the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Series Final, included in the list of declared runners are nine horses who have each won a qualifying race since the start of the series in June. In addition, there is the €30,000 Foran Equine Irish EBF Nursery Handicap race that will be run before the final on Sunday, this means there is €150,000 of prize-money on offer between the two races for connections of horses who have run in the 2020 series.
Joseph O’Brien heads the weights with Vafortino and Snapraeterea, the former was recently third in a stakes race in Tipperary and the later was third in the Group 3 Beresford stakes at the Curragh. Sheila Lavery heads to Naas with two runners, Belle Image and Supershock, Belle Image is a recent winner in the series when she lost her maiden tag impressively at the Curragh in a Foran Equine Irish EBF qualifying race. Last year’s winning trainer, Willie McCreery, is represented by Huddle Up who cost only €8,000 at the 2019 Goffs Sportman’s Sale and has earned nearly €16,000 from running in the series alone. Ger Lyons has two series winners declared, Ecliptical and Amber Kite for owners Vincent Gaul and Sean Jones respectively. Johnny Murtagh is another trainer to have two runners with the fillies Amazed By Grace, who won her series maiden in Dundalk and Revolutme who was third in a series maiden won by Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet now a group two winning and group one placed filly.
Johnny Murtagh, trainer said; “It’s a great initiative and to have two runners in the final is brilliant. It’s a wonderful series and it has really helped me to get new owners into the yard. I go out and buy yearlings for the series and I have no doubt that it has attracted new owners into the game, which is very important. Amazed By Grace and Revolutme have both won their maidens and have earned their places in the final. I’m happy with both of them. They probably have to improve a bit to beat the higher rated horses, but they go into the race in very good form and I am looking forward to running them on Sunday.”
Nessa Joyce, Manager Irish EBF said; “this will be the sixth running of the Foran Equine Irish EBF final and the quality of the runners vying for a berth in the final is what stood out. Of the sixteen declared runners, thirteen are already winners and the rest were all placed second, and when you see that the average auction purchase price of all the runners in the final is just €24,000, it tells a great story of the quality and value that is available at the yearling sales. This year also saw record prize-money of €727,500 on offer that was distributed between 94 individual owners and 49 individual trainers since June, we would like to thank everyone who supported the series and we are already looking forward to the 2021 running of the series.”
Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director, Foran Equine: “We are thrilled to see a full field for the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Series Final at Naas this Sunday. It is also fantastic to see the €30,000 Foran Equine Irish EBF Nursery Handicap being so well supported too. During these unprecedented times, the series has continued to generate many positive opportunities and success stories for our customers. We are very grateful to the Irish EBF for being a fantastic partner and for their additional support through these difficult times. I would like to thank everyone who has supported the series, the owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, racecourses and Horse Racing Ireland. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the hard working stable staff. As a thank you, there will be a draw before the final and one groom will win a mix of Connolly’s RED MILLS & Foran Equine merchandise in addition to a hamper of Carr & Day & Martin products to celebrate our recent acquisition. We wish all the runners and connections on Sunday the very best of luck.”