An Irish record of 563 entries have been made for the inaugural renewal of the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas in August, prompting Horse Racing Ireland to consider increasing prize money and staging a consolation race.
The new juvenile contest, aimed at the progeny of sires with a median of no more than 75,000 euros at last year’s yearling sales, is scheduled for August 3, being run over six furlongs with a prize fund of 200,000 euros.
After attracting 345 Irish-based entries, 217 contenders from Britain and one possible from America – a colt owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by Wesley Ward – HRI could now add a consolation race for those that miss the cut for the feature event.
With racing currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first forfeit stage had been deferred to an unconfirmed date that will be announced when there is a clearer indication on the resumption of racing and dates for the breeze-up sales.
Jason Morris, HRI director of racing, said: “The level of initial entries for the Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes has exceeded our expectations and demonstrates the popularity of this new concept.
“Once the picture becomes clearer over the timing and basis for a resumption of racing, we will evaluate the feasibility of increasing the prize money for the feature race and/or the creation of a consolation event.
“We can look forward to a very competitive and high quality contest in what will hopefully be better times.”