The final, worth €65,000, will be open to all horses which ran in a qualifying auction hurdle race between August 2019 to March 2020 and have not won a Listed or Grade 1, 2 or 3 bumper or hurdle race. The final was originally scheduled to be run at the Punchestown Festival which was cancelled due to Covid-19. The 2019 final winner was Zero Ten, trained by Emmet Mullins who went on to win the Grade 3 Pierce Moloney Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles in March this year.
The 2020 and 2021 Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series will commence at Ballinrobe racecourse on Monday 10th August. It will be the first of 14 qualifying races that will run from August 2020 until March 2021 with the final scheduled for next year’s Punchestown Festival. Irish EBF are pleased to supplement the drop in prize-money, due to Covid-19 related cuts, and restore the value of each race to €20,000.
The €5,000 Weatherbys/ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme will remain in place for all races in the series. The conditions for the qualifying races specify that all horses must be EBF eligible and bought as an unraced three or four-year-old at a recognised National Hunt Store sale for €45,000/€30,000 or less, with weight allowances depending on the purchase price.
William Flood, Irish EBF Governor, said; “It is great to announce the rescheduling of the final and the resumption of the 2020/2021 series right before the start of the store sales in Ireland. It gives owners, trainers and vendors at the sales a lucrative series of races to target. The Irish EBF are working closely with HRI to ensure all National Hunt funds which were not distributed during the suspension of racing are re-allocated to National Hunt EBF races before the end of this year.”
Eric McNamara, trainer, said; “It is a wonderful series and it is great news to have the final back on the schedule and to have the next series starting in Ballinrobe, which is especially welcome in these times. Well done to Irish EBF for keeping the prize-money up for the series, and a big thank you goes to Connolly’s Red Mills for continuing to support the series. I have two horses already in mind for the final and there will be huge interest from trainers with eligible runners come October.”
Tom Mullins, trainer, said; “Barnaviddaun was second in two of his starts last season and won the final leg in Downpatrick, he was a €9,500 store and won nearly €20,000 prize-money in the series alone, which is great for his owners. He’s back in training after his summer break and it would be hard not to target the final with the prize-money on offer. I have always been a big fan of both the Foran Equine and RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction series and thankfully we have been lucky and won a number of races within both series.”
Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “It has been a challenging few months for the industry and we have all had to adapt, we recognise and appreciate the effort being made by all to sustain the racing programme and we are proud to continue to support both the Foran Equine 2-year-old Auction Series and the RED MILLS Auction Hurdle Series. It is fantastic to be able to stage the RED MILLS Irish EBF Final at Punchestown, and with a significant prize-fund on offer, it presents a super opportunity for those horses that are qualified.”