Fifteen trainers have entered twenty horses for a chance to run in the €75,000 Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Final over 2 miles and 4 furlongs at Punchestown on Wednesday 28th April, 2021.
Eight of the horses entered are already series winners having won their maidens during the 2020/2021 season. The average auction purchase price of all the horses entered is just €16,280, with a maximum purchase price of €42,000 and the lowest at €2,600.
Of the two fillies entered both are eligible to win the €5,000 Weatherbys/ITBA NH Fillies Bonus Scheme if they are first past the post. The final is open to all horses which ran in a qualifying auction hurdle race between August 2020 and March 2021 and have not won a Listed or Grade 1, 2 or 3 bumper or hurdle race.
Among the entries is the Kieran Purcell trained Fest Deiz, he won his maiden hurdle in the series at Cork in October and is the least expensive horse to be entered costing only €2,600 as a store.
Willie Mullins has entered recent Tramore winner Gelee Blanche and Eurotiep. Eurotiep got off the mark over hurdles in a qualifier at Thurles before following up in a Series Novice hurdle at Leopardstown in March.
Peter Fahey has entered Born Patriot and Suprise Package and they represent a yard in fine form having recently sent out a first Grade 1 winner in Belfast Banter. Belfast Banter won his maiden hurdle in the series at Galway in October and has since gone on to win at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals.
Finally Tom Mullins could be represented by both Breakeven and It Could Be You in next weeks final, both won maiden hurdles in the series and Fairyhouse and Clonmel respectively and come from a yard with a fantastic record in this series.
Tom Mullins, trainer of Breakeven & It Could Be You, said; “Because it’s two and a half, I would probably think that Breakeven would probably be the best. He has a lot of gears even though he’s a distance horse, he has gears and if he puts it all together, he’ll be hard to beat. The other horse (It Could Be You) knows the game very well because he’s run in handicaps and all that. I think they’re both very nice horses and they’re both set up nicely for this race.”
Peter Fahey, trainer of Born Patriot & Suprise Package, said; “Two of them have brilliant chances to be honest, Born Patriot he won his qualifier around Punchestown and if the ground is slow he’ll take a bit of beating. And the other horse is probably the opposite, he probably wants a bit of quicker ground, Suprise Package. Both of them are going there with very good chances.”
Nessa Joyce, Irish EBF Manager, said; “The Red Mills Irish EBF auction hurdle series gives owners, trainers and vendors at the sales a lucrative series of races to target with their horses. From the horses entered in the final, the average purchase price is €16,280 with eight of the horses already winners, which showcases the quality and opportunities that are available even with limited budgets. The €75,000 final on Gold Cup day at next week’s Punchestown Festival is such an exciting prospect for the 20 horses entered and we would like to thank all connections for supporting the final and the series to date.
Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director at Connolly’s RED MILLS, said; “It’s been a challenging year and we have all had to adapt, we recognise and appreciate the effort being made by all to sustain and grow the industry. We have seen the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Hurdle Series make a significant impact across the board. Over 74 individual trainers have run horses in this year’s series, with a total of €355,000 prizemoney on offer, the series continues to create opportunities for horses in a very important segment of the market, targeting horses bought for less than €45,000 at an Auction Sale. Having the final at the Punchestown Festival allows us to shine a light on the series and it gives connections a great opportunity to have a runner at the Festival, obviously we’d all love to be there but regardless, it is fantastic to have the Final and we look forward to a great contest.”