Blue Wind blows Al Shira’aa Racing into dual Classic trial sponsorship at Naas Racecourse

Naas Racecourse and Al Shira’aa Racing are delighted to announce the boost in sponsorship from the Kildare-based Racing and Breeding operation.

The partnership will now see Al Shira’aa Racing as the feature sponsor on May 6 with their co-sponsorship of the Group 3 Al Shira’aa Racing Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes along with their continued support of the Listed Al Shira’aa Racing Irish EBF Naas Oaks Trial on June 28.

The Blue Wind Stakes is often viewed as a stepping stone to the Epsom Oaks, as seen with 2018 winner Bye Bye Baby before her run finishing third behind Forever Together in the British Classic. The race has also thrown out globe trotters in recent years such as Tarnawa, and the 2022 winner Tranquil Lady went on to take the Group 3 Prix du Flore in Saint-Cloud.

Al Shira’aa Racing is headed by Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan and managed by Kieran Lalor. Meadow Court Stud, which was purchased by Al Shira'aa in 2016, is now the base for the Irish company's breeding operation.

Meadow Court Stud has a storied history in thoroughbred racing, having been established by Paddy ‘Darkie’ Prendergast and named after his 1965 Irish Derby winner.

Al Shira’aa Racing have horses in training in Ireland with Ger Lyons and Willie McCreery, in France with Carlos Laffon Parias and Pascal Bary, and in the USA with Christophe Clement and Neil Drysdale. They enjoyed major international success with Mutamakina, the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes winner at Woodbine in 2021, and there is plenty to be excited about with their burgeoning bloodstock collection which now includes fillies from the same family as Poetic Flare, Mother Earth, Waldgeist and Broome to name a few.

Kieran Lalor, general manager of Al Shira’aa Racing, commented: “We are delighted to be increasing our sponsorship and support of Irish racing to include the Al Shira’aa Racing Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes alongside the Al Shira’aa Racing Irish EBF Naas Oaks Trial.

“As breeders and buyers, we are mainly focused on the Classic distances and with both races being over the right distances and for 3-year-old fillies only they are the sort of races we ourselves would be targeting and certainly hope to compete in, soon.

“Sponsoring these Classic trials at Naas is a great way for us to show our continued support for the Irish racing industry and we can recognise the hard work all stable staff put in, which was an important factor for the boss.”

Grooms in their races will be practicing their plaits as Al Shira’aa Racing have boosted the prize fund for the Best-Turned-Out winner to €250 and to recognise the importance of stable staff, all grooms leading up in the race will receive €100.

Eamonn McEvoy, general manager of Naas Racecourse, added: “When I approached Kieran Lalor in February suggesting he take a look at the Blue Wind Stakes I was thinking Al Shira’aa Racing would go with it and move from the Naas Oaks Trial.

“When Kieran came back and said he’d talked to ‘The Boss’ and told me they were taking both races it was fantastic. I cannot thank Sheikha Fatima enough for her continued support at Naas Racecourse.

“The transformation at Meadow Court Stud (Al Shira’aa Racing’s Irish base) blew me away the other day when we met with Kieran and the team, the future is certainly bright. The farm is outstanding and it was very noticeable a great atmosphere among the staff there.

“The Al Shira’aa Racing Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes G3 being a 3yo only race is positioned perfectly in the calendar to be a leading Epsom Oaks Trial.”

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