Prizes galore on Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes Day at Naas

Monday’s €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will see 20 owners, trainers and jockeys chase the €150,000 first prize for the richest race of the year at Naas Racecourse. Five British-trained runners will contest the Bank Holiday Monday feature which is the centrepiece on an action-packed day at the County Kildare venue where racegoers will also have the opportunity to win the trip of a lifetime to the Rugby World Cup. 

In addition to the fourth running of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, racegoers will also be treated to a classy renewal of the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes which has attracted the Willie Mullins-trained Royal Ascot winner Vauban. Two of Willie Mullins’ former stars, Hurricane Fly, Faugheen and Briar Hill will be joined by Masterson and Bonita Bay as part of a Treo Eile parade of retired racehorses following the second race on the card. 

Trainer Tom Dascombe is one of 16 trainers who has managed to claim prize money in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes previously and he is confident of making his latest trip from Lambourn a profitable one with Innvincible Friend. In a race that features two horses making their competitive debut, Innvincible Friend is the most experienced runner in the line-up with Monday being his seventh racecourse start. 
Dascombe has also booked Seamus Heffernan to partner the son of Inns Of Court. 

The Irish Classic winning trainer said: “Innvincible Friend is a very experienced and very genuine horse and I'm sure he will run to his best. 

“We've just put cheek-pieces on him for Monday as he can be a little bit lazy and I suppose that is why we've been able to run him so often! 

“The ground doesn't bother him at all - you could run him down the M4 motorway or in a bog and it would be all the same to him.”

Dascombe saddled Ever Given to finish fourth in the race 2021 renewal of this race and he added: “It is a wonderful race and the owners are really keen to go. Owning racehorses is about having fun and if you can pay for it along the way is a bonus and I don't think this horse will be out of the prize money. 

“Seamie Heffernan has kindly agreed to ride the horse and he has never done me any harm before so we are thrilled to have him booked and we can't wait until Monday now.”

Kevin Ryan has confirmed Jungle Mate, one of two runners for owners the Bronte Collection, with the Hugo Palmer-trained Golden Trick also representing those connections. Alice Haynes has booked Chris Hayes for Shayekh, while Karl Burke will saddle That’s For Sure. 

Last year’s winning trainer/jockey combination of Joseph O’Brien and Declan McDonogh will combine with Gold Coast Galleon this year, while Ger Lyons is double-handed courtesy of Ragga Bomb and Simplexity, the latter being the mount of champion jockey Colin Keane. Sheila Lavery will have three chances in the €300,000 contest with Kortez Bay, Glamora and the newcomer Vestigia representing the popular trainer. 

Monday will also mark the return of apprentice jockey Wesley Joyce. The Moyross native suffered serious injuries in a fall at Galway just over 12 months ago and will complete a spectacular comeback when partnering the Johnny Murtagh-trained course and distance winner Wave Machine in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap. 

Entry to Naas Racecourse is free on Monday thanks to the kind sponsorship of Ballyhane Stud and prior to racing there will be a Rugby and Racing panel with Kevin O’Ryan previewing the racing and Hugh Cahill getting the thoughts of former Ireland international Bernard Jackman and current Munster coach Mike Prendergast ahead of the Rugby World Cup. 

Twenty lucky racegoers will be assigned a horse each in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes and the person linked with the winner of the feature race will win a two-night package with return flights, hotel transfers, hotel B&B, pre-match lunch and tickets for Ireland v South Africa. The Grand Slam and Six Nations trophies won by Ireland this year will also be at Naas on Monday.

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