Full field chase €120,000 in Irish EBF Auction Series Race at Naas this Sunday

Fri 15 Oct 2021

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.

€1,000 purchase Capitulation a “cash machine” that should come away from €120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Final with a cheque, says Ado McGuinness, who is launching a new syndicate to target the series in 2022

Mon 11 Oct 2021

“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.

Bellewstown 24-8-21 CAPITULATION and Chris Hayes (grey) win the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden from BUTTERFLY ISLAND (purple). (Healy Racing)

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.

Harrington’s hordes among 42 targeting €120,000 pot in Irish EBF Auction Series Final Series

Thu 23 Sep 2021

Final emphasises tremendous value and opportunities on offer

Naas 16-9-21 EUROCRAT and Shane Foley (far) win the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden from CORPORAL VIOLETTE (near) (Healy Racing)

Full list of entries here

Jessica Harrington heads a 42-strong entry list for the €120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Final, hosted by Naas Racecourse on October 17.

In all, 21 trainers are represented in a fitting climax to another tremendous series in which a total of €699,000 is on offer to connections of two-year-olds that cost €72,000 or less at public auction as yearlings or at the breeze-up sales.

An innovation of the largest sponsor in Irish racing, the Irish European Breeders’ Fund, the Irish EBF Auction Series has generated direct sales activity as a result of the opportunities of offer. John Bourke, racing and bloodstock manager of Syndicates.Racing, who have Mise Le Meas in the mix, explains the attraction.

Mise Le Meas was acquired for £36,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale last year and recently finished third in the Listed Blenheim Stakes at Fairyhouse, having been an Irish EBF Auction Series winner at The Curragh.

“The prize money for the Irish EBF Auction Series Final is too good not to consider and so we had to give Mise Le Meas an entry,” says Bourke.

“It’s a fantastic series and as a syndicate, it is extremely attractive to our owners to be able to offer the opportunity of going for such prize money through the maidens and then the Final, without having to take on the superpowers. It also means that when we go to the sales, it is with a view to buying horses that qualify for the Irish EBF Auction Series.”

The average purchase price of the entrants in the Final is €25,210 – marginally above the average price of all runners in the series of €17,000. The lowest handover of cash was for the Ado McGuinness-trained Capitulation, one of four series winners this year bought for less than €10,000, costing just €1,000 at the Goffs February Sale this year before landing the €12,000 first prize on offer when scoring in the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden at Bellewstown in August.

Having followed up with a very good runner-up finish behind one of the Harrington septet, Leopardstown Irish EBF Auction Series winner and fellow Final entrant Tut Tut, at Listowel on Tuesday, the son of Elzaam must have a great chance of providing a further return on his nominal purchase price.

With weight allowances for cheaper horses, the opportunities in the Irish EBF Auction Series are multiple and this year’s Prix Jean Prat winner, Laws Of Indices is an example of the quality of series graduates, having been purchased for just €8,000 at the Goffs Ireland Autumn Yearling Sale in October 2019 and won his Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden at Navan the following June. His trainer Ken Condon has entered Lexi’s Dream in this year’s Final.

Another series alumnus to score at the highest level this season is the Noel Meade-trained Helvic Dream, who was bought for €12,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September Sales this time three years ago and won an Irish EBF Auction Series Race at Roscommon the following year. He progressed to elite status when successful in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh in May. Meade has five entrants – Chestnutter, Fairy Stone, Hotel Wren, Joe Masseria and Lady Of Inishfree.

Commonstown Stud have always been well represented since the inauguration of the Irish EBF Auction Series, with Eurocrat, Nectaris and the aforementioned Tut Tut having claimed first prizes through the season and assistant trainer Kate Harrington makes no bones about its importance to the yard.

“The Irish EBF Auction Series Final at Naas is an absolutely brilliant race on the Irish calendar. It’s something we always try to target horses for as it’s a great pot,” notes Harrington.

“When you’ve got the upcoming sales, if you buy a horse for less than 72,000 euros, pounds or guineas, it’s brilliant as they’re eligible for these 24 races and then the Final and we’ve been lucky to win a few of them this year.

“Princess Rajj is a lovely homebred filly of Mum’s. She just got touched off in Down Royal when a close third. She might run at The Curragh this weekend and then hopefully she’ll be aimed at the Auction Final.

“Slamadoor ran a great race when seventh in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes at Champions Weekend, beaten less than six lengths. She will be aimed at Naas if she doesn’t pick up a nursery in the meantime.

“Eurocrat was a winner of the Irish EBF Auction Series Maiden at Naas last week when he ground it out well. If the ground doesn’t go too soft, he will be aimed at the Final.

“Nectaris was an impressive winner of the Irish EBF Auction Series Face in Galway. She’s a very nice filly. We’ve given her a little bit of a break since her run at Roscommon. She’s had a little bit of a growth spurt but will also be aimed at the Final.

“Tut Tut was a good winner of the premier handicap at Listowel on Tuesday evening. She’s gone up to a rating of 88 now and if she encounters a little bit of soft ground, it certainly won’t hinder her chances.

“We have two unraced entries. Rock Of Candy is in a winners’ auction race at The Curragh on Saturday. An unraced Fastnet Rock filly, she’s very nice. Villanova Queen is Mastercraftsman filly that we really like and we can hopefully get her qualified for the Final. If we can get in, we will run as many as we can because of the brilliant prize money.”

Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager commented: “With yearling sales upon us and the €120,000 Irish EBF Auction Series Final just around the corner, it is a timely reminder to keep next year’s Auction Series in your plans. All EBF eligible yearlings purchased for under €72,000 can enter the 2022 Irish EBF Auction Series as well as two-year-olds bought at next year’s breeze-up sales for €72,000 or less. The average price of all runners in the series so far is just over €17,000 with four of this year’s winners bought for less than €10,000. This tells the story that you can get involved and win races with a modest investment and the 2022 Irish EBF Auction Series will continue to provide these lucrative opportunities to connections.”


EBF Future Stayers’ Graduates hit new high

Mon 13 Sep 2021

HURRICANE LANE became the first English Classic winner to emerge from the highly successful British EBF backed Future Stayers’ races, initiated in 2015.

Hurricane Lane

HURRICANE LANE (Frankel) added to his list of Gr.1 success with a win in the St Leger on Saturday. The English Classic victory fulfils a hat-trick of Gr.1 wins for the Godolphin owned colt which include the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris.

The Normandie Stud bred colt made his racecourse debut at Newmarket as a 2yo in an EBF race specifically designed to encourage horses whose sire or dam won over 10 furlongs or further. The same race produced multiple Gr.1 winner and now Darley stallion, CRACKSMAN who won the race; staying legend STRADIVARIUS came home fourth in the same contest.

The Sire/ Dam Restricted races, also known as Future Stayers’ races have been a highly successful addition the race programme. Initially open to the progeny of stallions who had won over 10f or more, the races were opened up, in 2017 to allow progeny of dams who had won over 10f or more to compete. 

Over the last 6 years, the British EBF have allocated over £400,000 to the Future Stayers’ project, enabling these races to be run well over minimum value at not less than £14,000.

This programme of races has produced 52 Black Type horses, they include 5 G1 winners on the Flat, in addition to HURRICANE LANE: CRACKSMAN, LINE OF DUTY and ROYAL MARINE, all won their respective race. STAR CATCHER and STRADIVARIUS also competed in these races as part of their juvenile careers. 

The British EBF Future Stayers’ Novice Stakes at Newmarket is due to be run on 20 October this year.