The dream is alive as trainers start planning entries for fourth renewal of the lucrative Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes
Entries close next week for richest race at Naas Racecourse at a cost of €250 with final prize fund likely to exceed €200,000
The fourth renewal of the lucrative Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes will take place at Naas on Monday, 7 August with entries closing for the much sought after juvenile prize next Wednesday, 8 March.
Now well established in the Irish racing calendar, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is worth a minimum of €200,000 but has attracted such a massive entry in recent years that the prize money swelled between €300,000 to €320,000 previously.
The Bank Holiday Monday highlight is a median auction race for two year olds that are EBF eligible and whose sire established one or more yearling sales in the previous year with a median price of not more than €75,000. There is also a weight allowance available for two year olds that are by a stallion with a lower median price.
Since its inception, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has offered €920,000 in total prize money with the race itself been won by three different trainers and owners over the last three years. Since the 2020 running, 16 trainers have saddled horses to claim prize money in the race while 28 different owners have all been rewarded with prize money down to 10th place in the race.
Each year, the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has attracted strong overseas representation with seven British-trained horses earning prize money so far, while the breeder of the winning horse is also recognised by the race sponsors as they will receive a free nomination to a Ballyhane Stud stallion.
Leading Malton-based trainer Richard Fahey said: “The Ballyhane is a race I’d love to win. It’s a huge pot for owners to target and it’s a good value race to enter and run in. We've had runners previously and are very much looking forward to being in Naas again next August.”
With next week’s entries for the race just €250 and over 300 stallions eligible, the race has proven extremely popular across the training ranks. Last year’s race saw an initial entry of 303 horses owned by 192 different owners and partnerships from across the world. Jessica Harrington has been a massive supporter of the race and hopes to be well represented again.
Kate Harrington, assistant trainer to her mother Jessica said: "The Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes is a race that we highlight on the calendar straight away. It's a lovely target to have at this time of year and certainly gives owners something to look forward to as well. We'll be making a number of entries for the race next week because the dream is very much alive at this stage of the year. We've had horses run well in the race and Ocean Quest was third here last year so we've come close and we'll be aiming to go a couple of places better. It is a great incentive for owners and trainers and it's a race we would love to win."
Joe Foley, owner of Ballyhane Stud, said: “We’re once again delighted to sponsor the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes, the richest race at Naas and a big prize fund for owners and trainers to aim at. Prizemoney is the lifeblood of racing and races like the Ballyhane are so important to owners. I know that Naas have great plans for the race-day so the Bank Holiday Monday should be great fun."
The raceday has proved just as popular for the activities off the track as well as the racing on it. Naas Racecourse will be abuzz with live music, kids activities, a barbecue and more with further announcements to follow over the coming weeks for the richest day of the year at the popular County Kildare venue.
For more information on the median sires eligible click here.