Horse Racing Ireland, the Irish European Breeders’ Fund and Gowran Park Racecourse have announced a significant boost to the three-year-old programme for middle distance horses for 2024 and beyond, with a new Spring Series of median sires races, culminating in the €200,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic, the richest race ever held at Gowran Park Racecourse, on Bank Holiday Monday, June 3rd.
The race is designed to attract three-year-old middle distance horses with a median price of no more than €75,000. The winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic will receive an automatic free entry into the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Sunday, June 30th. This applies to both colts and fillies. Entries for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic close on March 13th.
The series, with total prize money of €330,000, will consist of six races with a minimum prize-fund of €25,000 per race. The Curragh, Navan and Cork will host four maiden races between them, two for fillies only, and each of these races will be restricted to runners whose sires achieved a median price of not more than €50,000 in 2022.
A median price of €75,000 will apply to runners in the Irish Stallions Farms EBF 3YO Spring Series Race, with a value of €30,000, at Roscommon on May 13th. The same median price restriction will apply to runners in the €200,000 series finale.
There will be free entry, sponsored by Irish Stallion Farms, for all racegoers at Gowran Park on Bank Holiday Monday, June 3rd and the Racecourse’s Manager Eddie Scally, said: “Gowran Park are really excited to host the inaugural €200,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic, the regions richest flat race. This race will form part of an action-packed day both on and off the track this June Bank Holiday Monday with live music and a massive family fun day. We hope the Gowran Classic will attract all the top trainers and riders from both Ireland and abroad and see for themselves the warm Kilkenny welcome.”
Joe Foley, Irish EBF Chairman, said: “Irish Stallion Farms already sponsor two successful series for two-year-olds, the auction and median series with 27 races in each and a combined value of nearly €850,000. We felt it important to develop a similar series for later developing middle distance three-year-olds; hence the Spring Series was initiated with the valuable €200,000 race at Gowran as its centrepiece. We look forward to seeing this three-year-old series grow and develop and are delighted to support Gowran Park racecourse in particular, who are investing heavily in their facilities.”
John Osborne, Director of Bloodstock and Welfare, HRI, said: “The concept is quite simple – to stimulate greater interest and demand for middle distance horses. The Spring Series gives these horses a chance, the breeders are incentivised, and the stallion masters are encouraged to stand Classic type horses and have a wider market for them. In addition, the trainers are motivated to keep these horses around for a number of seasons because there is a programme that is really enticing for them.”
Willie McCreery, Curragh-based trainer, commented: “This new Spring Series of median sires races is a brilliant initiative by Irish EBF and Horse Racing Ireland. The races are designed to be linked to the median price of the stallion, which allows everyone to participate. It offers great opportunities for middle distance horses that needed a bit of time to mature and gives them a big target to aim at, in their three-year-old career. The prize money along with the ‘win and you’re in’ to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is a super incentive and I’ll certainly be aiming horses at all the races especially the €200,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic.”
Curragh 06/04/24 10 €25,000 The Irish Stallion Farms EBF 3yo Spring Series Maiden 3yo Median Auction Maiden (Fillies) (€50,000) (EBF)
Navan 09/04/24 10 €25,000 The Irish Stallion Farms EBF 3yo Spring Series Maiden 3yo Median Auction Maiden (€50,000) (EBF)
Navan 27/04/24 10 €25,000 The Irish Stallion Farms EBF 3yo Spring Series Maiden 3yo Median Auction Maiden (€50,000) (EBF)
Cork 10/05/24 10.18 €25,000 The Irish Stallion Farms EBF 3yo Spring Series Maiden 3yo Median Auction Maiden (Fillies) (€50,000) (EBF)
Roscommon 13/05/24 10.3 €30,000 The Irish Stallion Farms EBF 3yo Spring Series Race 3yo Median Auction Winners of 1 (€75,000) (EBF)
Gowran Park 03/06/24 9.5 €200,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Gowran Classic 3yo Median Auction (€75,000) (EBF)