The British EBF kick off their support of turf flat races this weekend with a new race to their programme. The Brocklesby, the first 2yo flat turf race of the year, will be run on Saturday with an elevated prize fund of £35,000 supported by a contribution from the European Breeders’ Fund.
The race attracted 25 entries, run for the first time as a Novice stakes (formerly a Conditions race). Three First Season Sires are represented within the 18 declared runners: SOLDIERS CALL, INNS OF COURT and MAGNA GRECIA with the latter getting off the mark early with his first runner MYCONIAN, a winner in France for trainer Amy Murphy. LOADED GUN represents him on Saturday and goes off third favourite for trainer Andrew Balding.
The British EBF have increased their contributions to British racing for the fifth year in 2023, with total support across Flat and National Hunt now topping £2million for the first time in the organisation’s 40 year history. In line with a wider industry effort to support higher value two-year-old races, the BEBF have increased contributions to several Novice, Maiden and Restricted Novice and Maiden races for the coming season.
The valuable British EBF £100,000 2yo Series also kicks off this Spring, with over 100 qualifiers leading to two finals in the Autumn: a fillies’ race at Goodwood on 5th September and one for colts and geldings at York on 13th October. A number of the qualifying races have been afforded a significant boost, falling under a new project spear-headed by long time EBF contributor Juddmonte, to run some EBF Restricted Maiden and Novice races at £30,000.
Naas Racecourse, the Irish EBF and Ballyhane Stud can today reveal that the fourth renewal of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will be worth €300,000, free entry on the day with the gate sponsored by Ballyhane Stud and a chance to win a prize of a lifetime to the Rugby World Cup.
Now firmly established in the racing calendar as a major target for trainers and owners in Ireland and Britain, this year’s race has attracted a mammoth 345 entries with the winning connections in line for a €150,000 pot with every runner in the 7th August showpiece earning prize money.
Entries for the €300,000 prize cost connections just an initial €250 and the race has attracted 145 British-trained entries and a total of 29 Irish-based trainers are currently dreaming of success.
The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is a median auction race for two-year-olds that are EBF eligible and whose sire established one or more yearling sales last year with a median price of not more than €75,000.
This year’s prize fund will bring the total to over €1.2m for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes since its inception in 2020 and with the added bonus of prize money being awarded to every horse in the race, the current total of 16 trainers and 28 different owners who have claimed prize money in the race is very much likely to swell.
The breeder of the winning horse is also acknowledged with a free nomination to a Ballyhane Stud stallion being just one of the many incentives offered by the County Carlow-based stud.
Ballyhane have also revealed today that they will be sponsoring admission for all patrons on the day meaning that all racegoers can enjoy the richest raceday of the year at Naas with free admission.
On the day, racegoers will also have the opportunity to win a prize of a lifetime with a trip to the Rugby World Cup up for grabs. A draw will be made just prior to the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes assigning one lucky racegoer to each horse in the feature race and the name linked to the winning horse will win a two-night package for Ireland v South Africa including return flights, hotel transfers, hotel B&B, pre-match lunch and two tickets.
Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said on Wednesday: “It was great to see the Flat season kick off last weekend and we are once again eagerly awaiting the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes in August. The race may be a few months away yet but owners and trainers alike love to dream and it’s fantastic to see such a strong number of entries for what will be the fourth renewal of the race at Naas. The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is a valuable race and prize money is so important to the owners so we are excited to be associated with such a popular day once again.”
Eamonn McEvoy, manager of Naas Racecourse, added: “The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is a highlight of the August Bank Holiday weekend now and we are delighted with the huge number of entries we have received. Everyone at Naas is very grateful to Ballyhane for their support by also sponsoring the gate on the day and some lucky racegoer is going to leave on the day with a trip of a lifetime to see the best rugby team in the world at the World Cup. It promises to be a fantastic afternoon.”
Irish racing’s largest sponsor, the Irish European Breeders’ Fund, who are funded by Irish Stallion Farms, have announced an all-time record high level of annual sponsorship. €2.7 million will be added to the prize-money of Irish races throughout 2023, when the Irish EBF are also celebrating 40 years of service to Irish Racing. This brings the overall contribution to over €57 million since the foundation of the Irish European Breeders’ Fund in 1983. The spend will encompass nearly 500 races, both flat and National Hunt, that will carry EBF conditions throughout the year.
The highlights of the record €2.7 million spend is the support given to two-year-old races where over 42% of the total spend is targeted. This includes almost all of the maiden races, the successful Irish EBF Auction Series and the Median Sires Series with the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes as a valuable showcase for median races. The Irish EBF Auction Series, now in its ninth year and worth a total of €745,000, has 24 qualifying races and two finals to target. The Auction Nursery Final, over 6 furlongs, will be run for €50,000 at Cork Racecourse in September and the series will finish on a high as usual with the €120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Final at Naas racecourse in October. Races for older horses are being bolstered, with all Listed Fillies races running for a minimum of €50,000 and all other listed races running for a minimum of €40,000.
National Hunt support continues to focus on mares races with about 50% of the National Hunt allocation targeted at mares’ chases, hurdle and bumper races. The popular Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series, worth nearly €400,000 has 16 qualifying races and a €75,000 final at the Punchestown Festival which is backed up by the Irish EBF Auction Bumper Series with six races worth €15,000 each over the season.
Joe Foley, Irish EBF Chairman, said; “Prize-money is the lifeblood of our industry and fundamental to the health and future of any racing jurisdiction. The Irish EBF board are always eager to direct as much funding as possible into prize-money and are delighted to put forward this €2.7 million record spend for 2023. This level of spend is only possible thanks to the voluntary contributions made annually, by every stallion owner and manager in Ireland. The sponsorship spend encompasses all facets of the racing programme throughout the year and provide many valuable options to owners and trainers of horses of both codes.”
Suzanne Eade, CEO Horse Racing Ireland, commented; “The Irish EBF has long been the largest sponsor of Irish racing and HRI is hugely appreciative of their long-standing and continued commitment which is underpinned by voluntary contributions from stallion farms all over Ireland. The Irish EBF’s record race sponsorship of €2.7m million in 2023 is hugely important to the horseracing industry as it will benefit all the many recipients of prize money under both codes including owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff.”
Entries close next week for richest race at Naas Racecourse at a cost of €250 with final prize fund likely to exceed €200,000. The fourth renewal of the lucrative Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will take place at Naas on Monday, 7 August with entries closing for the much sought after juvenile prize next Wednesday, 8 March.
Now well established in the Irish racing calendar, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is worth a minimum of €200,000 but has attracted such a massive entry in recent years that the prize money swelled between €300,000 to €320,000 previously. The Bank Holiday Monday highlight is a median auction race for two year olds that are EBF eligible and whose sire established one or more yearling sales in the previous year with a median price of not more than €75,000. There is also a weight allowance available for two year olds that are by a stallion with a lower median price.
Since its inception, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has offered €920,000 in total prize money with the race itself been won by three different trainers and owners over the last three years. Since the 2020 running, 16 trainers have saddled horses to claim prize money in the race while 28 different owners have all been rewarded with prize money down to 10th place in the race.
Each year, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has attracted strong overseas representation with seven British-trained horses earning prize money so far, while the breeder of the winning horse is also recognised by the race sponsors as they will receive a free nomination to a Ballyhane Stud stallion.
Leading Malton-based trainer Richard Fahey said: “The Ballyhane is a race I’d love to win. It’s a huge pot for owners to target and it’s a good value race to enter and run in. We’ve had runners previously and are very much looking forward to being in Naas again next August.”
With next week’s entries for the race just €250 and over 300 stallions eligible, the race has proven extremely popular across the training ranks. Last year’s race saw an initial entry of 303 horses owned by 192 different owners and partnerships from across the world. Jessica Harrington has been a massive supporter of the race and hopes to be well represented again.
Kate Harrington, assistant trainer to her mother Jessica said: “The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is a race that we highlight on the calendar straight away. It’s a lovely target to have at this time of year and certainly gives owners something to look forward to as well. We’ll be making a number of entries for the race next week because the dream is very much alive at this stage of the year. We’ve had horses run well in the race and Ocean Quest was third here last year so we’ve come close and we’ll be aiming to go a couple of places better. It is a great incentive for owners and trainers and it’s a race we would love to win.”
Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said: “We’re once again delighted to sponsor the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, the richest race at Naas and a big prize fund for owners and trainers to aim at. Prizemoney is the lifeblood of racing and races like the Ballyhane are so important to owners. I know that Naas have great plans for the race-day so the Bank Holiday Monday should be great fun.”
The raceday has proved just as popular for the activities off the track as well as the racing on it. Naas Racecourse will be abuzz with live music, kids activities, a barbecue and more with further announcements to follow over the coming weeks for the richest day of the year at the popular County Kildare venue.