Red Lily Syndicate still celebrating King Cuan’s reign following valuable Irish EBF Auction Final success

The Irish EBF Auction Series drew to a fitting conclusion at Naas Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as King Cuan reigned supreme in the €120,000 Final. 

King Cuan brought the curtain down on the ninth year of the Irish EBF series and in doing so sent the Red Lily Racing Syndicate into a frenzy as the Paddy Twomey-trained colt added to his lucrative success in the Goffs Sportsman’s Challenge Race at the same venue to take his career earnings to €139,450 from just four starts this year. 

King Cuan has been a wonderful fairy-tale story for the 15-member Red Lily Racing Syndicate. The winning owners come from many corners of Ireland and 10 of the syndicate are experiencing ownership in Ireland for the first time. 

The syndicate was the brainchild of Brian O’Riordan, the Finance Manager at Naas Racecourse and many of the syndicate are locally based in County Kildare. 

Paddy Twomey picked up King Cuan as a €21,000 purchase at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale and now his joyous syndicate have a winter of dreaming to look forward to. 

“It’s completely insane how it has all worked out,” O’Riordan said on Wednesday. “Sunday’s race was the same prize money as a Group 2 race and now it has us dreaming of winning Group 1 races.” 

O’Riordan has been watching the success of the Irish EBF Auction Race Series and entrusted Paddy Twomey to source a candidate with a view to setting up a syndicate. 

“Paddy’s record speaks for itself in sourcing these horses and I sent out around 40 messages and now we’ve a syndicate of 15 people and 10 of them never owned a horse here before. Everyone is getting great fun out of it and the interest has really swelled even from the Sportsman’s Race to last weekend. A lot more of the wives are taking an interest now!”

King Cuan has a winter break to look forward to now but plans for next year was the main topic of conversation among the syndicate on Sunday evening. 

O’Riordan continued: “We’ve people from all over Ireland involved but there was a good crew of us back in Kavanagh’s Naas on Sunday evening and I think King Cuan is going up on the wall down there now! 
“He has captured the imagination of a lot of people and he has brought Flat racing to a lot of people in the syndicate who would have never thought it was possible to own a horse like this. 

“Gerry Crehan is one of our members. Gerry does the Stable Yard entrance for us here at Naas and he had loads of fun with a horse called Won In The Dark and now he is getting a great kick out of King Cuan. Jack Sheridan was playing a County Hurling Final for Naas on Sunday so wasn’t here for the race but Jack has been working as a Fence Steward at Naas since he was able to walk, like his father and grandfather did before him so there is some great links to Naas Racecourse and it is fitting the horse has won two major prizes here this year. 
“Paddy has entered King Cuan in the Irish 2,000 Guineas so that will make the winter shorter for us dreaming of that. We’ve also sent Paddy shopping again for another horse thanks to all the prize money King Cuan has won so hopefully we might have our next purchase in the coming days and another horse that will be able to compete in this Irish EBF Series next year.”

The Irish EBF Auction Race Series is for horses that were purchased at public auction as a yearling or a two-year-old for €72,000 or less and are EBF eligible. The average purchase price for the 2023 Series Final runners was just €23,942 with the first three horses home in the race all surpassing their purchase price. 

The Ger Lyons-trained 100/1 runner-up Duplantis earned €24,000 on Sunday having been purchased for just €20,000, while the Michael Mulvany-trained Bid For Chester was sent off an 80/1 shot for Sunday’s showpiece and claimed €12,000 for finishing third which was €4,000 more than Larry Mulvany paid for him just over a year ago. 
Horses like Duplantis and Bid For Chester epitomise the essence of the Irish EBF Series as in total they have both earned over €35,000 during the 27 race series this year.

Last weekend saw the Irish EBF celebrating their 40th anniversary and next year the Irish EBF Auction Race Series will be back for a 10th year, once again with 25 qualifying races and two finals. 
The €50,000 Nursery Handicap at Cork over six furlongs and the €120,000 Series Final at Naas over seven furlongs are supplemented by 25 qualifying races bringing the total prize fund to €750,000, while each race also carries the IRE Incentive €10,000 Sales Voucher. 

Nessa Joyce, Manager of the Irish EBF, commented: “This year’s winner, King Cuan epitomises what the Irish EBF Auction Series is all about. Giving horses, bought at the middle to lower end of the auction market, the chance to shine. “The icing on the cake are the winning owners, the Red Lily Syndicate, to have so many newcomers involved is special and showcases how accessible horse ownership in Ireland is. Well done to Brian O’Riordan for setting up the syndicate and for Paddy Twomey to target King Cuan at the series. Next year will be the tenth running of the Irish EBF Auction Series and let hope we experience more wonderful winners.”

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