Cream Sparkes (IRE) earns an additional €15,000 for Roscommon owner

Connections of Cream Sparkles (IRE) had a night to remember at Ballinrobe Racecourse on Monday when winning the €20,000 RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle in a photo-finish under a cool ride by Denis O’Regan for Roscommon owner Micheal O’Connor and County Fermanagh trainer David Christie.

In addition to winning the series race, which offered €12,000 prize money for first place, Cream Sparkles (IRE) also scooped €5,000 from the Weatherbys / Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA) National Hunt Fillies Bonus Scheme and qualified for a €10,000 Irish thoroughbred sales house voucher as part of Horse Racing Ireland’s IRE Incentive campaign – €27,000 total winnings. She is also now well placed to enter the €75,000 Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series Final at the 2022 Punchestown Festival.

The win was made even sweeter for Roscommon owner Micheal O’Connor as he bought the horse for €5,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland August National Hunt sale in 2017.

Micheal O’Connor said: “We had a brilliant evening in Ballinrobe and I was thrilled for Denis and David too. It was an extra special winner for my family and me as I bought Cream Sparkles myself and look forward to keeping her as a broodmare when her racing career finishes.

“The series of auction races run by Irish EBF and Red Mills are a great idea and hopefully we get a shot at the big final at Punchestown next year. The Weatherbys / ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme and Horse Racing Ireland’s IRE Incentive Scheme are a big draw for a small owner/breeder like myself and I look forward to re-investing at the bloodstock sales very soon.”

Charles O’Neill, CEO of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, commented: The Cream Sparkles story is exactly what IRE Incentive Scheme is all about – targeting owners of all sizes across the 150 selected races over the Irish Flat and National Hunt programmes. The €10,000 sales voucher is a practical way assist owners to re-invest in quality Irish bloodstock at the Irish thoroughbred sales and it’s great to see the money being re-invested West of the Shannon. Congratulations to owner Micheal O’Connor and all winning connections – all the stars seemed to align for them in Ballinrobe on Monday.”

Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager, said: “Cream Sparkles win in the series is the perfect showcase for buying and racing a mare in Ireland. The auction hurdle series is the only place where both bonuses are on offer in National Hunt races and we are delighted for her connections to have scooped the brilliant prize-money and both bonuses. The series has 14 more qualifying races to run before the final and hopefully more great stories will emerge like Cream Sparkles and possibly we will see her in the €75,000 series final at Punchestown next year.”

Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “This is the result we’ve all been waiting for; all of the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Series races offer the ITBA fillies bonus and to see it collected for a mare that cost just €5,000 is the cherry on top of a great result for all the connections of Cream Sparkles, and then for the IRE Incentive bonus to apply, that just made it even sweeter.

This series has been all about creating opportunities for horses in the lower to middle segment of the market, we’ve seen some brilliant results over the last three years and witnessed so many horses and their connections enjoy some memorable days, collecting significant prize-money for their efforts. For RED MILLS it is so important that what we invest back into the industry makes an impact and we’re very grateful to the Irish EBF and Horse Racing Ireland for working with us to make this series work for the industry and of course our customers.”