Big Entries and Big Announcements for Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes Day at Naas

Wed 29 Mar 2023

Launch of the 2023 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas Racecourse, Ballyhane Stud, Leighlinbridge, Carlow 29/3/2023

Stallion Space Traveller pictured with Dermot Cantillion, Chairman Naas Racecourse, Joe Foley, Owner Ballyhane Stud, Nessa Joyce, Manager Irish EBF and Bernard Jackman, former Irish International rugby player.
Launch of the 2023 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas Racecourse, Ballyhane Stud, Leighlinbridge, Carlow 29/3/2023
Stallion Space Traveller pictured with Dermot Cantillion, Chairman Naas Racecourse, Joe Foley, Owner Ballyhane Stud, Nessa Joyce, Manager Irish EBF and Bernard Jackman, former Irish International rugby player Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

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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.”

All Time Record High of €2.7 Million for Irish EBF Sponsorship

Thu 23 Mar 2023

€120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Final, Naas Racecourse 16/10/2022
Shane Foley onboard Panic Alarm comes home to win For Jessica Harrington and Hronis Racing
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Maher

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.”

The dream is alive as trainers start planning entries for fourth renewal of the lucrative Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes

Thu 2 Mar 2023

Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

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.

Find race and entry info here:

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.

British EBF support tops £2million

Mon 20 Feb 2023

EBF Graduate STREETS OF GOLD heads to the 2000 Guineas. Photo: Jeremy Philips/ York Racecourse

The British European Breeders’ Fund announce an increase in contributions to prize money, bringing their support to £2million for the first time in the organisation’s 40-year history.

Underlining the importance of the support domestic stallion market provides for racing’s prize money, British EBF Chairman Simon Sweeting, said:

“Britain continues to be recognised for the quality of its stallion market: we stand promising young sires and established producers of Champions. The support of all our stallion owners to the British EBF, means we can support well over 700 flat races in 2023 with £1.9million; our biggest commitment to date. With our National Hunt programmes considered too, the British EBF contribution is over £2million, directly to racing’s prize money. It is a genuine enhancement of the value of the race programme, with a particular focus on developmental races and projects that protect the diversity of the race programme and, ultimately the Thoroughbred.”

Several areas of the programme will benefit from the extra support, including juvenile developmental races, Sire/ Dam Restricted 2yo races and a small series of novice and maidens for 3yos.

Rachael Gowland, from the British EBF, outlined specific races where funds would be used to increase prize money:

“Some of our established high-value Novice and Maiden races at premier fixtures will benefit from extra funding. Our successful Sire/ Dam Restricted races will receive a boost as an important cross industry initiative to encourage the production of quality stayers in Britain. We are also supporting the BHA in special projects to strengthen developmental opportunities in the older horse programme.

This is in addition to our longstanding commitments to our high-value fillies’ and mares’ handicaps, designed to retain mares in GB and give them productive targets throughout the season, and of-course, our flagship British EBF £100,000 2yo Series finals founded last year.”

The British EBF 2yo Series, covers over 140 qualifying races and culminates in a final for fillies at Goodwood and one for colts and geldings’ at York, each worth £100,000. It aims to support the commercial end of the sales and stallion market by utilising Restricted Novice and Maiden races as qualifiers. A number of these, now supported by long standing EBF contributor Juddmonte, are to be run at £30,000, making them valuable qualifying targets on the way to the £100,000 finals.

In 2022, David Mensuisier’s 13,000euro purchase MUNCH claimed the fillies’ final at Goodwood; the race went on to produce subsequent Dinger’s Gartencenter Koln-Winterkonigin Trial (Listed) winner SIRONA. The colts’ final was won by the unbeaten Eve Johnson Houghton trained STREETS OF GOLD; a £27,000 Tattersalls Ireland purchase who’s Spring target is the 2,000 Guineas. The race also
produced LEGEND OF XANADU that went on to with the Listed Doncaster Stakes at the end of last season.