International Cricket Council Hall of Famer Michael Holding will join an esteemed panel of speakers at the first ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ webinar on Wednesday 10 November at 2pm. The free online event is open to anyone involved in horseracing and supporting industries to join and is being hosted by the Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) in collaboration with the British Horseracing Authority, the National Trainers Federation (NTF), the Professional jockeys Association and HR Rewired.
Michael will be joined by; Shereen Daniels, advocate for anti-racism in business and Managing Director of HR re-wired and racehorse trainer Suzy Smith, who is also on the NTF Council and a DiRSG member, and Horserace Writers and Photographers Association Broadcaster of the year, Nick Luck, who will host the panel. Further panellists from horseracing will be confirmed soon.
The topic of race and equality is uncomfortable and many people worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. This webinar aims to open up the discussion on race and equality in a safe but brave space and bring together as many people as possible working and involved with horseracing who are interested in learning more on this important topic.
Michael Holding, who commented in a recent interview with ITV Racing, that education and visibility is fundamental to progress the depth of diversity in racing, as well as providing more opportunities so the best people are able to prosper in the sport, in turn helping it to thrive, said:
“I hope many representatives from across the sport of racing will join Shereen, Suzy, Nick and myself on this webinar, from owners, trainers, jockeys, racing grooms, breeding industry representatives, to racecourse teams and those in the administration of racing, as well as the many people in organisations connected with the sport.
“I am optimistic that the challenge of progressing racial equality can be solved. Conversations and providing people with an understanding of this subject is an important and valuable starting point. Furthermore, for sport to remain relevant with society, and in this case horseracing, it needs to be aware and recognise issues that exist outside of its own space and I look forward to exploring this with everyone during the webinar.”
The British European Breeders Fund (EBF) have also generously named a race at Newmarket on Wednesday 20th October to recognise this event, as; “The Let’s Talk About Race Webinar on 10th November EBF Future Stayers Novice Stakes”. The DiRSG would like to thank the EBF for this opportunity to showcase the event.
Susannah Gill, Chair of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group, said: “This is a valuable opportunity for everyone in British racing to come together to collectively discuss racial issues which is an important part of improving understanding and helping create an inclusive sport for all which can grow and thrive in the future. We are hugely grateful to Michael, Shereen, Suzy and Nick for providing their time and expertise in being part of what will be a fascinating event.”
Having laid the ghost of Layfayette’s agonising defeat in the Irish EBF Auction Series Final of 2019 to rest, Noel Meade is backing Sunday’s victor Lady Of Inishfree to continue the trend of Irish EBF Auction Series contestants by graduating to stakes class. A supporter of the series since its inception in 2015, Meade has already invested heavily in yearlings for next year’s renewal. Buoyed by their principal share of the €72,000 first prize from the Naas final, owners Eoin Banville, Ken Bolger and Peter Parkhill are also intent on being involved again in 2022.
As dedicated denizens of the industry grassroots, they have echoed the Tu Va Stables supremo in extolling the considerable virtues of the Irish EBF Auction Series in terms of prize money, resale opportunities and stimulating activity in the middle-to-lower markets at the yearling and breeze-up sales.
Meade, who recorded a treble on Sunday that included a return to form for 2020 Irish EBF Auction Series maiden winner and subsequent Group 3 victor Elysium in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes, had revealed in the Irish EBF Auction Series Shout Out earlier this year that it was the inauguration of the series that prompted his increasing re-emphasis on the Flat sector, having initially enjoyed considerable success on the level before becoming an eight-time champion National Hunt conditioner.
“It’s had a huge bearing on it,” Meade declared. “We found we were able to buy horses of value on the Flat front. We’ve been lucky in the last couple of years so we decided to buy a few more.”
Elysium isn’t even Meade’s star series graduate, with Helvic Dream top of the class having provided the Meath handler with his first Group 1 in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh last May. That came 21 months after the son of Power won his Irish EBF Auction Series maiden in Roscommon, making him the second Group 1 graduate of the series after Champers Elysees, who won the Matron Stakes last year. Remarkably, Helvic Dream led the Johnny Murtagh-trained filly home in a stellar 1-2 back at Roscommon in the Irish EBF Median Auction Race in September 2019.
Ten graduates of the Irish EBF Auction Series have won at group level, four of those at the highest grade and Helvic Dream was the first of a stupendous hat-trick of Group 1 victors in 2021, with the Ken Condon-trained Laws Of Indices (Prix Jean Prat) and Ado McGuinness’ A Case Of You (Prix de l’Abbaye) following in his hooves. These three were acquired as yearlings for €12,000, €8,000 and €3,000 respectively, highlighting the value that is available at public auction.
This year, the Irish EBF Auction Series comprised 24 qualifying races and two finals worth a total of €699,000 in prize money. With weight allowances dependent on the purchase price, and the ceiling purchase price for which a horse can run set at €72,000, the attractions are endless.
“Lady Of Inishfree is belonging to three guys I’ve been mixed up with a long while: Eoin Banville, Ken Bolger and Peter Parkhill. The idea has been to bring the horses on, make them worth more money and sell them,” explained Meade, who brought his tally of prize money garnered in the series to €212,695 from the 36 times out of 77 runs from his 33 representatives. Significantly, just short of €94,395 of that tally has come from placed horses. What is also noteworthy is that the average sales price of the five winners that yielded the €128,300 is €12,520, while the average sales price of all his runners is €12,166.
“We’ve had the final in our heads for quite some time with her. I’ve always felt she was very useful. I think she is a stakes filly in the making and I thought if everything went right for her, she would be hard to beat. We got beat a short head in it two years ago with Layfayette. Chris Hayes (who rode Lady Of Inishfree) was riding him that day and he just got touched off and the filly that beat him (Lustown Baba) went on and won (and was placed) in two or three listed races the following year for Willie McCreery.”
Banville (Arctic Tack Stud), Bolger (Redmondstown Stud / Spring Field Farm) and Parkhill (Castletown Quarry Stud) are immersed in the racing and bloodstock industry and will be getting the cheque books out once more after their €23,000 buy-back boosted the bank kitty.
“She has more than paid for herself,” said Bolger. “We bought her as a foal for €8,500. Peter did the main selecting. When we returned her as a yearling, we liked her a little bit more than everybody else so we actually bought her back in at €23,000 which looks now a great idea seeing as we grabbed the 70 grand. We’re delighted we got the opportunity to enter the series. To get to the final was fantastic. To win it was dream stuff, magical stuff. The prize money for the races that come through the season is a great help and gives great incentive for people to go forward and maybe purchase again.
“We purchase every year and it’s always something we keep an eye on because it is a great incentive and a great help to the industry as well. We’ll try line up something for next year again, please God.”
It all speaks to an innovation that has delivered on its key targets and is flourishing with each passing season. In 2015, there were just 17 qualifiers and the final was worth €75,000. On Sunday, 16 qualifiers battled it out for a share in the €120,000 pot in a seven-furlong final, while there were nine further runners pursuing the €30,000 on offer for an alternative final over a furlong less, with prize money available down to sixth in each contest. This year, 93 individual horses and 38 individual trainers have won prize money, while 21 horses have won prize money in excess of their auction price, including Lady Of Inishfree, Sunday’s Nursery Handicap victor Admiral D, and a host of the winners.
The average auction price of all runners was €28,817 with the highest at €71,290 (Nectaris) just sneaking into eligibility, while the lowest, at €1,000, was Capitulation, who was among the group winning more than they cost by following up a third-placed finish at Leopardstown with a maiden triumph at Bellewstown. The Ado McGuinness-trained filly just failed to add to the €14,500 gained from the Irish EBF Auction Series, when denied of sixth by a neck in the final. The good news is that Irish EBF has confirmed its continuing commitment to the series into 2022, ensuring that there is a genuine, credible programme of opportunities with which to attract existing or new owners at public auction, and to encourage trainers to pursue them, safe in the knowledge that their talents as trainers and the wares of their horses can be advertised without having to cross swords with more regally-bred stock.
Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager commented: “The series has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2015 and this year’s final has provided another fantastic success story. The first six home had an average auction price of just over €26,000 and we are likely to see some of them at stakes level next year, adding to the already impressive Auction Series Graduates Roll of Honour. The 2022 Irish EBF Auction Series will again offer new and existing owners a chance to get involved at more modest prices with the potential to reap some of the excellent prize money on offer.”
A full field of 16 runners will chase the lion’s share of the €120,000 prize money on offer for Sunday’s Irish EBF Auction Series Final which is the showpiece event on an eight-race card at Naas, six of which are backed by Irish EBF to the tune of €276,000.
Sunday’s feature race is the final of the series which has boasted €699,000 in prize money this season all for horses that were purchased for €72,000 or less at designated public auctions.
Nine runners line up for the €30,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Nursery Handicap over the shorter six-furlong trip, all of which have performed in Irish EBF Auction Series races this year and with prize money down to sixth, only three of the contestants will return home empty-handed.
Michael O’Callaghan will be hoping to continue his good run of form with Listowel maiden winner, Admiral D heading the field, Jake Coen claiming his invaluable ten pounds off the top weight.
A massive field of 18 and a full field of 16 will run in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes and the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bluebell Stakes respectively.
The Noel Meade-trained Elysium, another graduate of the Irish EBF Auction Race Series, is the standout performer in the Garnet Stakes over a mile, while the concluding Bluebell Stakes is an intriguing encounter with Thunder Kiss, Barrington Court, Flor De La Luna and Zaqara all currently rated north of 100.
Gavin Cromwell’s €25,000 purchase Giselles Ausie, the mount of Leigh Roche in this Sunday’s Irish EBF Auction Series Final, was a winner on debut in the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden at Navan when beating another of Sunday’s rivals, Chestnutter, by just a head and the trainer is hoping the Brendan Keogh-owned filly might snare some more lucrative prize money this weekend with the current spell of dry weather in her favour.
“Giselles Ausie absolutely has a good chance if things go her way,” Cromwell said on Friday morning. “The better the ground the better her chance. She likes a bit of nice ground. She went to the line well at Navan first time and it was great to win on debut.
“Then in The Curragh, she was probably first off the bridle but stuck at it well and was always finding to the line.
“There is plenty of improvement to come in her and when she steps up in trip she’ll be better again. So the stiffer Naas test will stand to her.”
Cromwell’s Royal Ascot winner Quick Suzy is another graduate of this series and Cromwell has hailed the idea as “brilliant for Irish racing”.
A €20,000 purchase at Goffs last November, Quick Suzy bagged €15,000 for that win alone and in what has become a common theme in terms of foreign buyers noting the form of horses in the series, provided further return on that initial outlay when sold to American based Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
The Profitable filly then advertised the quality that can emerge from the series, as illustrated this year by the three graduates that have won Group 1s this year – Helvic Dream, Laws Of Indices and A Case Of You – when blitzing a high-class field in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After soft ground scuppered her chances of joining that exalted trio of Group 1 victors in the Prix Morny at Deauville, the daughter of Profitable is now being prepared for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar.
“It’s a great series and it’s been proven. It’s a great opportunity for the so-called lesser horse but then we see the quality that has come out of it, which is great,” Cromwell added.
“Quick Suzy is good to go for Del Mar. She’s all set, in good form and we’re looking forward to it. It’s exciting.
“It just shows what you can get at the sales. And when I go, I am buying with the likes of the Irish EBF Auction Series in mind, absolutely. They’re just great opportunities and you have the added bonus of attracting potential buyers if you run well in them, as was the case with Quick Suzy. It’s brilliant for Irish racing.”
Another intriguing contender for Sunday’s highlight is De Vega’s Warrior who will be saddled by Joseph O’Brien for the Thoroughbred Racing Syndicate, headed by former Munster, Leicester and Ireland rugby star, Johne Murphy.
The Limerick maiden runner-up was bought for €34,000 with races such as this in mind and with prize money of €2,400 down to sixth place, Murphy is looking forward to seeing the colt take his chance this weekend but unlike Cromwell is hoping for some more rain to arrive.
“He was second in Limerick last week on what was a real bog. That was a sharp enough seven furlongs for him. You’re going to see the best of him as a three-year-old as he steps up to a mile, a mile and two and maybe even a bit further,” Murphy explained.
“Naas is a much stiffer test than Limerick but if he gets the ground he wants, he could go quite well. And the luxury of the series and the final is that there’s plenty of prize money down to fifth and sixth, so it’s very much worth taking your chance.”
Speaking about the concept of the Thoroughbred Racing Syndicate, Murphy added: “We bought yearlings last year with the Irish EBF Auction Series in mind, particularly with the value that was on offer and we will be doing the same. We are looking at those valued from zero to €72,000. It makes a big difference to be able to run in those races and as a commercial syndicate, to be able to sell them on then afterwards.
“We had a winner of one of the maidens this year in Relaxed Artist in Leopardstown and he was sold to an American owner to race out in America. Both Cynisca and De Vega’s Warrior have run in maidens as well.
“So there are a number of attractions for us. The prize money attached to the series is huge. Relaxed Artist won €17,700 for winning the race in Leopardstown so it’s very much worthwhile targeting the series if you qualify for it, even if you have that type that you feel is capable of mixing it in open maidens, because of the extra money attached.
“For us then, you’re in the shop window for all the foreign markets. And that makes it easier to go back to the sales and to attract future investors or people interested in getting involved racing.”
The first on a fascinating eight race card is due of at 1.10pm. ENDS
“All systems go” for latest series Irish EBF Auction Series Group 1 graduate A Case Of You’s Breeders’ Cup bid: “He’s got a lot faster”
It has been a season Ado McGuinness will never forget. Having scooped the €96,000 first prize in the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup in Doha last February with Bowerman, McGuinness tore into the Irish campaign with relish and has long since shattered his previous best tally of winners for a turf campaign, at 31 and counting.
Eight days ago, last year’s Down Royal Irish EBF Auction Maiden winner, A Case Of You provided his trainer with a first Group 1, responding generously to the urgings of Ronan Whelan to hit the front on the last stride in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp.
Now, the boss of Skylark House Stables in Hayestown, just outside the Dublin seaside suburb of Lusk, is dreaming of Breeders’ Cup Turf Spring glory in Del Mar with the Gary Devlin-owned son of Hot Streak, who has followed in the footsteps of fellow Irish EBF Auction Series graduates Helvic Dream and Laws Of Indices by progressing to become Group 1 winners this year.
This titanic trio were all bought cheaply and in Capitulation, a juvenile filly owned by Devlin in partnership with Nigel O’Hare who will take her place in next Sunday’s Irish EBF Auction Series Final at Naas, McGuinness has another virtual steal who while unlikely to follow in her stablemate’s hooves, has already provided a remarkable return for the €1,000 she was bought back for at Goffs’ online sale last February.
The Elzaam two-year-old had already been in the first four on four occasions when being rewarded with a gutsy nose triumph in the Irish EBF Auction Maiden at Bellewstown at the end of August, bagging the €12,000 first prize for connections and boosting the cut-price acquisition’s prizemoney to €26,025, while also boosting her own value considerably.
No wonder McGuinness likens her to an ATM and is optimistic that with the €120,000 pot for the Irish EBF Auction Series final being doled out down to sixth, she will depart Naas with further dividends from that initial nominal outlay.
“She’s a bit like a cash machine going racing every day, she’s bringing you back a cheque,” says McGuinness in the latest edition of the Irish EBF Auction Series Shout Out. “She’s a very honest filly. She’s in the sales at the end of the month in Newmarket. You could sell her anywhere around the world. She’s not going to be a superstar but she’ll win plenty of races.
“(The final) is definitely on the agenda… There’s no reason why she can’t gather a few quid. She’s a very honest filly and I think she’ll get a cheque somewhere. That’s the good thing about it. You don’t have to win the race, there’s great money there.”
McGuinness has been active at the yearling sales in Goffs and Tattersalls Ireland and is launching a new syndicate this week to target the total €699,000 prize money on offer from its 24 races.
“The prizemoney is huge for winning a maiden… You don’t have to win it, even being placed you’re getting a right few quid… We’re launching a new investment yearling plan. We’ve bought six or seven at the moment and we’re going to buy a few more.
We’ll be back in Goffs and in Tatts as well. Hopefully we can gather in some more punters and investors into the yard and kick on from there. The more lottery tickets you have the better chance you have of winning the lottery. The more horses you have the better chance you have of winning these sorts of prizes.
“If lads give 15 grand for a horse and all of a sudden, he wins a maiden, you nearly have the price of him back, plus you have him sold. Even if he’s second, you’ve a nice few quid and you can get him sold. It’s a great incentive to be able to showcase this quality of horses and I’m not looking at Galileos and Dubawis going by me. That is very important for trainers that aren’t huge, big trainers, to showcase what they can do and sell the horses as well and survive.”
McGuinness has certainly advertised his wares with A Case Of You, bought for €3,000 at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale two years ago. The Dubliner acquired him after he followed up the Down Royal success that was worth €13,800, by winning the Group 2 Anglesey Stakes at The Curragh exactly 12 months ago when in the colours of then trainer, John McConnell.
He had already won twice for his new yard when runner-up in the Flying Five over Irish Champions Weekend, before confirming McGuinness’ belief that he was an improving individual on Arc day in France.
“There’s a great buzz in the yard all week. We’re just so happy. There’s nothing too big for us this week.
“We were overjoyed. It was unbelievable. So many things go through your mind. Is this happening? It was such a close finish so you had to wait for a photo finish as well. You were waiting and people saying, ‘You have it, you have it!’ You’re standing there waiting, ready to burst and we certainly did burst with the emotion.
“It’s all systems go (for Del Mar). We’re gonna go to the Breeders’ Cup with him at the moment. We done a couple of days with him on the beach after we came back, just chilling. He had a little canter this morning.
“He’s never left a nut. He ate up, even when he won the race, the boys fed him before they put him on the lorry and he licked the pot clean. That shows you the type of horse he is. He’s just so laidback. He wants to drink, eat and sleep and race and that’s a great thing to have in a horse.
“We felt from the start of the season right to now this horse has got faster and a lot faster. We’ve a couple of fairly smart, good, solid listed and black-type sprinters. Before, if you start off with an early three-year-old and you’re working them with these type of horses, they struggle with them but believe you me, these horses are struggling with him now.
“Especially in the last two months, I can’t believe how this horse has got faster and faster. That’s why we dropped him back to sprinting. We knew it would sharpen him up anyway because he’s so laidback. As a five-furlong sprinter, you need them to stay as well. You can get a horse with a burst of speed and they tread water in the last half a furlong. This boy is the opposite. He’s getting quicker in the last half a furlong. That’s what you really want in a very good sprinter.”
The deadline for forfeits/final entries for the Irish EBF Auction Series final is tomorrow, October 12, with final declarations on Friday and the final on Sunday.
McGuinness hopes to have “four or five runners” at Naas, where the Irish EBF sponsors six races in total, worth in excess of a €250,000. Apart from the Irish EBF Auction Series Final and consolation Nursery Handicap, the programme will include two listed contests, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bluebell Stakes and the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes. ENDS