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Irish European Breeders’ Fund, Ballyhane Stud and Horse Racing Ireland have today announced a substantial increase to the value of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes from €200,000 to €300,000. This increase will again make the median auction race the most valuable two-year-old race that will be run in Ireland this year. The race is aimed at EBF eligible two-year-olds with a sire’s median price of no more than €75,000 from last year’s yearling sales. The race will be run for the second time at Naas Racecourse over 5 furlongs and 205 yards, on Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd August with a maximum field of 24.
The next forfeit date for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is this coming Wednesday, June 23rd with a final forfeit stage on July 28th. The winner of the €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will receive €150,000 and prize-money will be paid down to 12th place. There will be a 72-hour declaration stage for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes.
To accommodate the large number of entries, the Silver Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will again be added to the Naas card and will be run for a prize-fund of €50,000 with prize-money paid down to 6th place. This race will be automatically open to all those horses still entered which receive a ballot number in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, 48-hour declaration will apply.
Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said: “We are thrilled to again be in a position to reward the owners and trainers who supported the race by increasing prize-money in the main race and staging the extra race, this will positively benefit a wide range of connections. We are looking forward to seeing the build-up to the race from now until August 2nd and if our €50,000 bonus will be claimed this year by a Ballyhane sired two-year-old.”
Jason Morris, HRI Director of Racing, said: “We are delighted that the very large entry numbers have again allowed us to increase the value significantly for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes and to introduce a second ‘Silver’ race, which will mean that up to 48 juveniles will be able to compete for the substantial prize money on offer between the two contests. This reflects the enormous popularity of the concept and HRI is extremely grateful for the continuing support of the Irish European Breeders’ Fund and Ballyhane Stud.”
Trainer Fozzy Stack commented: “Fantastic to hear that the prize fund for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes race has increased again this year to €300,000. I have a few entered for the race including Cheerupsleepyjean who was placed 3rd in the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot. With prize money like that on offer, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will certainly be on the horizon as one of her summer targets.”
The Trustees of the British EBF recently lent their support to the aims of British racing’s dedicated committee tackling issues of diversity and inclusion in the sport. In a Racing Together blog, Rachael Gowland from the British EBF and David Letts from the Diversity in Racing Steering Group, talk about the first of initiative supported by the Trustees – a race to celebrate Pride month.
What is Pride month?
Pride month falls annually to recognise the Stonewall Riots which occurred on 28th June 1969 and were a pivotal turning point for LGBT+ rights across the world. Pride month is about LGBT+ communities and allies coming together to celebrate the progress which has been made whilst recognising that there is still work to do. It is about committing to play our role in addressing the issues which still exist through education and promoting an open dialogue around LGBT+ inclusion.
What is Racing With Pride?
Racing With Pride is part of the sport’s broader Diversity in Racing Steering Group. The Racing with Pride committee aims to further awareness, education and engagement relating to LGBT+ matters and encompasses the sport’s LGBT+ network of the same name.
What is the European Breeders’ Fund (EBF)?
The British EBF is one of the largest financial supporters of racing in the country, contributing over £1.7million to prize money each year, sponsoring across all 59 (?) racecourses In Great Britain. Funded by British stallion owners, it has been an integral part of the racing landscape since 1983.
Why is it important for racing to show its support?
Research has shown that LGBT+ individuals working in racing are less likely to be out in the workplace than other areas of their life (i.e. to family and friends). It also highlighted considerable homophobic language being used throughout the sport, which can make an environment seem unwelcoming for LGBT+ people.
As a result, the British racing industry has been doing a lot of work around LGBT+ inclusion over the last year with the formation of Racing With Pride, the sport’s LGBT+ network and the launch of a specific e-learning module on Racing2Learn. Further projects include the creation of a communications resource pack, webinars and guidance resources and engagement with Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign through Racing Is Everyone’s Sport which saw the creation of a powerful video alongside on-course activation.
Given all this great work, Pride offers the perfect opportunity for the sport to celebrate the work undertaken and visibly show its support for the LGBT+ community.
Why are the British EBF championing Diversity and Inclusion?
“Put simply: there is no down-side to creating a safe, inclusive, fun and accepting environment for people to work or spend their leisure time.” Says Simon Sweeting, Chairman of the British EBF.
“We bridge both the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries and have a valuable marketing tool in our race sponsorship that initiatives like Racing with Pride and the Diversity in Racing Steering Group can benefit greatly from. Our Trustees were unanimous in their support of donating a race to promote the aims of the sport around the theme of Pride, encompassing gender identity and sexual orientation.”
When approached by the Diversity in Racing Steering Group earlier in the year, the British EBF Trustees were keen to show support for the projects developing horse racing as a more inclusive sport.
Alongside York Racecourse, the British EBF were able to offer a high-profile sponsorship opportunity as a platform to celebrate the progress already made and raise awareness more widely across the sport.
William Derby, York Racecourse Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said: “York Racecourse is a committed advocate of Racing with Pride and are determined to ensure racing on the Knavesmire is welcoming and inclusive for all. Our senior management team have developed, and committed to, our York Racecourse Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and have all undertaken Diversity training modules and have sought to ensure all departments and areas are as diverse, inclusive and welcoming as possible. Among our existing team, we have members of the LGBTQ+ community who we are proud to have as colleagues. We are actively working within racing, alongside the Diversity in Racing Steering group to ensure our diverse workforce can be confident, comfortable and be part of a fully inclusive community. It is important to us that all our participants and fans feel included and valued.”
What is racing doing more widely?
This month, individuals and organisations across horseracing are coming together to celebrate Pride month. Racing With Pride and Sports Media LGBT+ recently hosted a ‘Preparing for Pride’ webinar to help the sport feel ready to confidently engage with Pride month – the full recording can be viewed here. In response, displays of support including social media activity, race titles and media coverage have been increasingly visible across the sport. In addition, organisations are looking internally at what can be done to foster inclusive environments which encourage new spectators and talent to racing.
We are asking people to continue their support beyond Pride month. Racing With Pride will be hosting a free webinar on Friday 16th July focusing on the importance of Allyship and how we all have a role to play in making sure that racing is an open and inclusive sport for all.
David Letts, academic researcher and Chair of Racing With Pride, commented:
“It is fantastic to see the sport’s enthusiasm for engaging with Pride month, which seems to develop year-on-year. Following our recent ‘Preparing for Pride’ webinar, we have been approached by organisations across the sport who want to demonstrate their support and ensure that they are doing so authentically. We are now working alongside these organisations to create action plans, offer internal training sessions and form ongoing relationships. What’s most reassuring is the recognition that these commitments go beyond Pride month and are seen as a year-round focus.”