Ryan’s Mate is Naas bound for the €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes
A total of 28 horses remain in contention for the €300,000 Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, the richest race of the year at Naas Racecourse.
The Bank Holiday Monday showpiece will take place with quality throughout the day on the track and the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to the Rugby World Cup also on offer.
The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has proved to be a major success since its inception in 2020 and of the 28 horses which stood their ground at the five-day entry stage today, six are British-based runners.
One of those making the trip across to Naas on Monday is Jungle Mate, a Ballyhane bred son of Bungle Inthejungle who will represent Thirsk trainer Kevin Ryan.
Jungle Mate was a winner at Hamilton on debut and was second at Carlisle last time out and is set to tackle the €300,000 prize after pleasing his trainer this morning.
“Jungle Mate is in good form and did his final piece of work today and I was happy with him, so the plan is to run,” Ryan reported.
“The ground is an unknown for him, but you never know until you run them on it and I feel he is a progressive horse who is getting stronger and stronger. It’s a big prize so we will let him take his chance.”
British-based trainers have left with some prize money in the previous running’s of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes and Ryan is hoping Jungle Mate could be his best candidate for the race.
“We’ve had a couple run in the race previously, but I think this fella could be our best chance yet. Shane Gray will go over and ride him. Shane knows him well, has ridden him in his two races and rode him in his work this morning and has ridden in Ireland so it makes sense.
“The horse is owned by the Bronte Collection who are all friends of Steve Parkin of Clipper Logistics and are getting great fun out of the game. They are a great bunch and are looking forward to Monday. It would be a nice race to win.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Brighter, Hugo Palmer’s Golden Trick, Tom Dascombe’s Innvincible Friend and That’s For Sure, trained by Karl Burke, are the other previous winners still among the acceptors for the race.
For the John Murphy-trained duo of North Atlantic and Secret Sunday, the Ger Lyons-trained Ragga Bomb, Rehearsal for Jessica Harrington or Vestigia trained by Sheila Lavery, Monday’s Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes could be a debut to remember as they all remain in consideration for the mammoth first prize.
This year’s prize fund will bring the total to over €1.2m for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes since 2020 and so far 16 trainers and 28 different owners have won prize money in the race.
Ballyhane will also be sponsoring admission for all patrons on the day meaning that racegoers can enjoy the richest raceday of the year at Naas Racecourse with no admission fee.
Naas Racecourse are very proud of their strong links with many other sports and on Monday there will be a strong rugby theme as the nation builds up to the Rugby World Cup later this year. Prior to racing there will be a Rugby & Racing panel which will be MC’d by Hugh Cahill and feature Rugby pundits, Bernard Jackman and current Munster coach Mike Prendergast as well as Kevin O’Ryan.
Racegoers will get the opportunity to see the 2023 Grand Slam and Six Nations Trophies won by the Irish team, while there will also be the chance to win the trip of a lifetime to the Rugby World Cup. Some lucky raceogers will be assigned a horse in the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes and entered into a draw prior to the big race and the name paired with the winning horse will win a two-night package with return flights, hotel transfers, hotel B&B, pre-match lunch and tickets for Ireland v South Africa.
Racing is due to get underway at 2.15pm and also features the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes in which the unbeaten Waltham could seek a hat-trick for trainer Ger Lyons against the likes of Vauban for Willie Mullins and the 116-rated Adelaide River for Aidan O’Brien.