Another Record Entry for Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes

Thu 25 Mar 2021

Naas Sun 23 August 2020 Chief Little Hawk ridden by Seamus Heffernan, near camera, getting up to win The Irish EBF Ballyhane Median Auction Race from Monaasib ridden by Chris Hayes, 2nd, blue and white striped cap, Mooneista ridden by Ronan Whelan, 3rd, green and white diamonds and State Of Rest ridden by Declan McDonogh, 4th yellow cap.

The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has attracted another huge entry of 361 horses for the second running of the race which is scheduled for Naas Racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday August 2, 2021. The race, which has a minimum prize-fund of €200,000, has attracted 240 entries from Irish based connections and 121 from Britain, there are 200 colts and geldings and 161 fillies, including Missing Matron winner of the opening two-year-old race of the season for Jim Bolger at the Curragh.

95 individual sires are represented with entries in the race headed by Starspangledbanner with 22 entries, Kodiac with 16, both Dandy Man and Profitable have 15 entries each followed by Acclamation with 14. The race is aimed at the progeny of sires with a median sales price of no more than €75,000 at last year’s yearling sales who are also EBF eligible, with weight allowances for horses with a lower median sire price.

Horse Racing Ireland, Irish EBF and Ballyhane Stud will again examine the possibility of increasing the prize-fund and staging a second race to provide more opportunities for the large number of entries received. Last year’s inaugural running of the race saw the prize-fund being enhanced to an impressive €320,000 with prize-money awarded to all finishers and the staging of a second race, the €80,000 Silver Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, which gave connections more opportunities to claim some of the €400,000 prize-money on offer.

Kevin Prendergast, Trainer, said; “The race is a great incentive for two-year-olds to win a big pot whilst giving owners and trainers an opportunity to win big money. Having been just beaten in it last year, I will certainly be hoping to go one better this year.”

Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said; “It’s encouraging to see another huge entry from owners and trainers for the second running of the race and their support is much appreciated. We are delighted to, once again, attach a €50,000 bonus to the winner’s prizemoney if it’s by a Ballyhane stallion and also offer a complimentary Ballyhane nomination to the winning breeder. This is a significant prize to target for anyone with a qualifying two-year-old and everyone in Ballyhane is delighted to be associated with this fantastic event which we co-sponsor with the Irish European Breeders Fund .”

John O’Connor, Chairman, Irish EBF, said; “The Irish EBF Board are pleased to see such large entries again for a race that is only in its second year. It shows that there is great demand from owners and trainers with horses in this section of the market, utilising the median price of the sire as a race condition, allows both homebred and auction bought horses compete on a level playing field.  Between this lucrative race, the twenty-six Median Sires Series races and the twenty-seven Auction Series races, there is at least €1.6 million of prize-money on offer in these Irish EBF supported races for connections of two-year-olds this year.”

Eamonn McEvoy, Manager, Naas Racecourse, commented; “Brilliant to see such a high number of entries for the richest race at Naas, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes. We are delighted to be working with Ballyhane Stud and the Irish EBF again this year. The race last year was an enormous success and we look forward to another exciting renewal. It is fantastic concept and we feel it will work well for years to come.”

To view the list of entries click here – RACE ENTRIES ON HRI RAS WEBSITE


First British EBF Stallion Focus of 2021

Thu 11 Mar 2021

Each month, our partners at the European Bloodstock News, highlight British based stallions who have caught the eye with their progeny, either on the track or at the sales. To kick off 2021, we have a round up of stallions which are new to the rosters of British studs – those newly retired from racing and those that have moved to new homes. We are looking forward to the year ahead and all the sires which will catch the eye throughout the year.

Stallions featured in the EBF/ EBN Stallion Focus will go on to a long list of nominees for the annual British EBF Stallion Special Merit Award at the TBA Flat Celebration event the following summer. The award is not statistics based but recognises stallions that have achieved milestones or that have excelled with their progeny.

You can view the PDF of the Stallion Focus here:

British EBF role in global Strangles research recognised

Wed 10 Mar 2021

Strangles risks affect racing and breeding stock

Funding provided by the British EBF has been recognised as findings of a DNA investigation highlighting the ‘unbridled globetrotting’ of the Strangles pathogen in horses is published.

In the largest ever study of its kind into an equine pathogen, which was published today in the journal ‘Microbial Genomics’, scientists in 18 countries used the latest DNA sequencing techniques to track the bacteria Streptococcus equi as it caused the disease strangles in horses around the world.

Strangles, caused by Streptococcus equi, is the most frequently diagnosed infectious disease of horses, with 600 outbreaks estimated to occur in the United Kingdom each year. Streptococcus equi invades the lymph nodes of head and neck, causing them to swell and form abscesses that can literally strangle, in around 2% of cases, the horse to death. Some of the horses that recover from strangles remain persistently infected. These apparently healthy animals shed bacteria into the environment and spread the disease to other horses with which they come into contact.

“Using standard diagnostic testing, the Streptococcus equi strains look almost identical, however by carefully examining the DNA of the bacteria, we have been able to track different variants as they spread across the world” said Prof. Matthew Holden of the University of St Andrews.

“Piecing the puzzle together, we showed that cases in Argentina, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates were closely linked. Along with other examples, we provide evidence that the global trade and movement of horses is helping to spread the disease.”

“Building on top of the data generated, we provide an online surveillance platform for strangles enabling labs to upload and interpret their genomic and epidemiological data in close to real-time. Pathogenwatch will be used to monitor the emergence and spread of new lineages to help inform interventions and policy making decisions” said Prof David Aanensen of The Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, University of Oxford.

“Strangles was first described in medieval times and, with the exception of Iceland, affects horses in all corners of the world. Freedom from this disease enjoyed by Iceland is by virtue of a ban on the import of horses, which has been in place for over 1,000 years” commented Prof. James Gilkerson of the University of Melbourne and Chair of the International Equine Infectious Diseases Committee. “This new study provides evidence of the important role played by the movement of horses in spreading this disease, providing new opportunities for interventions that prevent future outbreaks.”

“This has been an incredible team effort, which was only possible through the collaboration of leading researchers from twenty-nine different scientific institutes in eighteen countries” said Dr. Andrew Waller of Intervacc AB.

“Horses are transported all over the world as they move to new premises or attend competitions and events. New cases of strangles can be prevented by treating carriers before they pass on the bacteria. This new research in the field of strangles and the new online Pathogenwatch resource provide an opportunity to track the course of infections, reigning-in Streptococcus equi’s globetrotting lifestyle by shutting the stable door before this horse pathogen has bolted!”

Simon Sweeting, Chairman of the British EBF, commented:

“Equine veterinary research is an integral part of the British European Breeders’ Fund’s support for the horse racing and breeding industry.  The Trustees are delighted to have been able to provide financial resources to Dr Waller and his international colleagues, which has enabled this vital work on tracking and managing the Strangles pathogen in the horse population.”

To date, the British EBF has directly funded over £1,250,000 of equine veterinary research projects, in addition to our prize money allocations.

Since 2000, they have wholly or partly funded veterinary research covering subjects as diverse as the Equine Genome Project and the identification of virulence factors associated with Rhodococcus. In recent years, the focus has been on research specifically relating to the breeding industry and has covered areas such as the effects of light and temperature on delayed ovulation and an extensive study in to potential alternatives to traditional parasite control in thoroughbred mares and young-stock.

Read or download the full published paper here:

Editor’s Notes:

About Intervacc: Intervacc AB is a Swedish company within animal health developing safe, effective vaccines for animals. The Company’s vaccine candidates are based on several years of research at Karolinska Institutet and Swedish University of Agricultural Research where the foundation was laid for the Company´s research and development work

Competitive Line up for €65,000 Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final

Thu 22 Oct 2020

Zero Ten and David Mullins winning the Connolly’s Red Mills EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final. Punchestown Festival. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post 01.05.2019

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.”

Link to entries on HRI RAS site –