Fifteen trainers have entered twenty horses for a chance to run in the €75,000 Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final over 2 miles and 4 furlongs at Punchestown on Wednesday 28th April, 2021. Eight of the horses entered are already series winners having won their maidens during the 2020/2021 season. The average auction purchase price of all the horses entered is just €16,280, with a maximum purchase price of €42,000 and the lowest at €2,600. Of the two fillies entered both are eligible to win the €5,000 Weatherbys/ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme if they are first past the post. The final is open to all horses which ran in a qualifying auction hurdle race between August 2020 and March 2021 and have not won a Listed or Grade 1, 2 or 3 bumper or hurdle race.
Among the entries is the Kieran Purcell trained Fest Deiz, he won his maiden hurdle in the series at Cork in October and is the least expensive horse to be entered costing only €2,600 as a store. Willie Mullins has entered recent Tramore winner Gelee Blanche and Eurotiep. Eurotiep got off the mark over hurdles in a qualifier at Thurles before following up in a Series Novice hurdle at Leopardstown in March. Peter Fahey has entered Born Patriot and Suprise Package and they represent a yard in fine form having recently sent out a first Grade 1 winner in Belfast Banter. Belfast Banter won his maiden hurdle in the series at Galway in October and has since gone on to win at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. Finally Tom Mullins could be represented by both Breakeven and It Could Be You in next weeks final, both won maiden hurdles in the series and Fairyhouse and Clonmel respectively and come from a yard with a fantastic record in this series.
Tom Mullins, trainer of Breakeven & It Could Be You, said; “Because it’s two and a half, I would probably think that Breakeven would probably be the best. He has a lot of gears even though he’s a distance horse, he has gears and if he puts it all together, he’ll be hard to beat. The other horse (It Could Be You) knows the game very well because he’s run in handicaps and all that. I think they’re both very nice horses and they’re both set up nicely for this race.”
Peter Fahey, trainer of Born Patriot & Suprise Package, said; “Two of them have brilliant chances to be honest, Born Patriot he won his qualifier around Punchestown and if the ground is slow he’ll take a bit of beating. And the other horse is probably the opposite, he probably wants a bit of quicker ground, Suprise Package. Both of them are going there with very good chances.”
Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager, said; “The Red Mills Irish EBF auction hurdle series gives owners, trainers and vendors at the sales a lucrative series of races to target with their horses. From the horses entered in the final, the average purchase price is €16,280 with eight of the horses already winners, which showcases the quality and opportunities that are available even with limited budgets. The €75,000 final on Gold Cup day at next week’s Punchestown Festival is such an exciting prospect for the 20 horses entered and we would like to thank all connections for supporting the final and the series to date.
Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “It’s been a challenging year and we have all had to adapt, we recognise and appreciate the effort being made by all to sustain and grow the industry. We have seen the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series make a significant impact across the board. Over 74 individual trainers have run horses in this year’s series, with a total of €355,000 prizemoney on offer, the series continues to create opportunities for horses in a very important segment of the market, targeting horses bought for less than €45,000 at an Auction Sale. Having the final at the Punchestown Festival allows us to shine a light on the series and it gives connections a great opportunity to have a runner at the Festival, obviously we’d all love to be there but regardless, it is fantastic to have the Final and we look forward to a great contest.”
http://bit.ly/REDMILLS_EBF_FINAL_PeterFahey – Trainer Peter Fahey talks about the horses in his yard that have graduated from the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Series and who his intended runners are for this year’s final at the Punchestown Festival.
The European Breeders’ Fund have renewed their financial contribution to British horseracing in 2021, pledging £1.8million of prize money enhancements between Flat and National Hunt racing.
“With financial enhancements focused between Class 4 and Listed level, this renewed pledge is very welcome at a critical time for British racing.” Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer, BHA
For over three decades, the British European Breeders’ Fund (British EBF) have provided prize money enhancements to domestic Flat and National Hunt races. Made up predominantly of contributions from the income of stallions standing in each EBF country; the continued strength of the fund in Great Britain is reflective of the current strength and breadth of the stallion market.
595 Flat races were run in 2020 under EBF conditions, receiving £1,430,250 of funding. British EBF financial contributions made up 22.5% of the £6,358,360 total prize money of these races, making them the second largest sponsor in the sport (by both number of races and total prize money of races supported). An additional £10,000 found its way to owners through the increased use of EBF sponsored number cloths in feature races.
“The European Breeders’ Fund continues to be a valuable contributor to British racing. This was highlighted during 2020 when races with EBF conditions received over £1.4m of funding as a direct result of their support. With financial enhancements focused between Class 4 and Listed level, this renewed pledge is very welcome at a critical time for British racing.” Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer, BHA
The Trustees re-strategised their traditional allocations in response to the cessation of racing, releasing as much EBF money as possible when racing resumed. Measures included: ensuring every race carrying EBF conditions carried a financial contribution; providing equal prize money contributions to each division of a race where applicable and funding a higher proportion of 2YO races.
The most significant change was asking racecourses to reflect 100% of EBF money above the BHA Minimum Prize Funds. This meant nearly 600 Flat and 80 National Hunt races were run with prize funds which were significantly higher than would otherwise have been achievable.
“2020 was a tough year for everyone but we were delighted to be able to get more than £1.5million in to prize money, even with a truncated race programme.” Explains British EBF Chairman Simon Sweeting. “The relative strength of the stallion market means that we have been able to maintain our commitment to racing’s prize money in 2021, when we know the effects of the last year will be felt keenly. We hope by the careful budgeting and strategy of the British EBF team, that we will be able to provide a certain amount of continuity and continue to elevate prize money wherever we can.”
British EBF Race Planning Committee Member Sam Bullard added: “We are constantly assessing our portfolio of races and how we support them; we work closely with the BHA and racecourses to identify new funding opportunities and are happy to support a much needed new conditions race for 3YOS to be debuted at Goodwood’s May fixture. We are also keen to back projects that provide specific developmental opportunities. A great example of this are the hugely successful British EBF Future Stayers’ races. Designed to give juvenile maiden and novice opportunities for horses with middle and staying distance pedigrees, they have produced a runners to subsequent Black Type winners ratio of 9%.”
Since their inception in 2005, 66 Future Stayers’ races have been run with £340,000 funding from the British EBF, attracting 567 individual runners. These innovative races have produced 51 Black Type horses and 5 individual Gr.1 winners on the Flat: CRACKSMAN, LINE OF DUTY and ROYAL MARINE, who all won their respective EBF Future Stayers’ races, and STRADIVARIUS and STAR CATCHER who were placed in theirs.
With a new racing season ahead, the British EBF were delighted to welcome Jono Mills to the trusteeship for 2021 to replace Sam Bullard, who steps down as Darley representative but will remain on both the Flat and National Hunt Race Planning Committees.
“Races championed by the European Breeders’ Fund have been stepping-stones for the careers of recent Godolphin stars such as Gr.1 winners ROYAL MARINE and GHAIYYATH as well as Darley stallions such as CRACKSMAN. I’m looking forward to learning more about this important industry organisation and representing Darley Stallions as one of the largest contributors to the EBF fund.” Jono Mills Director, Godolphin & Rabbah.
Punchestown Racecourse are delighted to welcome Coolmore as the new co-sponsors of the Grade 1 Mares Champion Hurdle on the final day of the 2021 Punchestown Festival, Saturday 1st May.
The Grade 1 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle benefits from an increased prize fund as a result of the collaboration and at €120,000 it becomes the most valuable mares race over hurdles in Ireland and the UK.
This will be the eighth running of the two-and-a-half-mile championship contest and thus far champion trainer Willie Mullins has landed six out of seven including back-to-back doubles with stars such as Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux. It was in 2017 that their former stablemate Apples Jade interrupted the clean sweep.
Albert Sherwood, manager of Coolmore’s Grange Stud said: “Coolmore are delighted to support Punchestown and the mares programme in sponsoring this Grade 1. Cheltenham showed the quality of true National Hunt-bred racemares around at the moment so hopefully we’re in for another great renewal.”
John O’Connor, Chairman of Irish EBF commented: “Irish EBF welcomes Coolmore as co-sponsor of this illustrious Grade one mares hurdle race. This collaboration will further enhance the rewards for mares and continue to attract quality runners who in turn will enhance the breeding stock for the future. Irish EBF has a strong record of supporting National Hunt mares races, with recent winners showcasing how well the programme is working. The Irish EBF board are committed to continue that focus into the future.”
Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill welcomed the announcement: “The benefits of a strategically enhanced mares programme are plain for all to see with fantastic performances in recent weeks. This grade 1 championship mares race was introduced in 2013 and has been backed by the Irish EBF ever since. The further support from a such a prestigious organisation as Coolmore elevates the race to the next level, in fact to the top level as the race is now the richest of its type in Ireland and the UK. We look forward to seeing what superstar adds her name to the list of winners.”
Entries for the 2021 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle will be available from Monday 12th April.
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.”