Darley Backs Irish Fillies to Enhance UK Developmental Series Pledge with Juddmonte

Darley has retained its sponsorship of the Dewhurst | Racingfotos


A quintet of black-type races for fillies in Ireland will gain financial backing from Darley this season in the latest announcement in the operation's refocusing of its sponsorship portfolio.

The races, which all receive increases in prize-money to between €55,000 and €75,000, are the Listed Kooyonga S. at Navan, the G3 Munster Oaks at Cork, the G3 Brownstown S. at Fairyhouse, the Listed Hurry Harriet S. at Gowran Park, and the Curragh's Listed Brigid's Pastures S.

Darley's director of stallions Sam Bullard said, “For many years Darley has supported the industry through sponsorship and the enhancement of the prize-money for these races further demonstrates our commitment to Irish racing and breeding, together with an exciting roster that includes several young stallions at Kildangan Stud. 

“This, coupled with the recently announced development fund initiative in the UK, broadens Darley's support of European racing and we are delighted to take on these new sponsorships.” 

Eamon Moloney, Darley's nominations manager at Kildangan Stud in Ireland, added, “The Irish Listed programme gives an opportunity for talented fillies to differentiate themselves. We are delighted to be supporting this series of races as an additional contribution to our longstanding support of prize-money through Irish European Breeders' Fund.”

This latest sponsorship announcement follows the news in February that both Darley and Juddmonte have given their support to the British Horseracing Authority's series of development races leading to more than 60 maiden and novice races being run in Britain this year for prize funds of between £30,000 and £50,000. Juddmonte has sponsored 20 restricted maiden and novice juvenile races, while the BHA Development Fund is being used to support 21 open maiden and novice races for two-year-olds. Furthermore, Darley and the BHA Development Fund are supporting 22 open maiden and novice races for three-year-olds. 

“When the development series came to light in the UK we felt we should do something in Ireland as well, as obviously we stand stallions there. While there is not a specific developmental series in Ireland, the idea of fillies' Listed races seemed to fit quite well,” Bullard added.

“Standing a lot of stallions, we absolutely want to keep supporting the industry. For the development series in Britain, everybody is working together to increase the prize-money pool, and that's a really good thing. And we hope that supporting these fillies' races will help the breeders.”

Darley's range of race sponsorships previously included the Prix Morny card at Deauville, which it was announced this week would be sponsored by Sumbe. Darley also sponsored the July Cup and Yorkshire Oaks until recently. 

“We've supported races like the Prix Morny for years and, moving away from that and being a bit more thoughtful about where we put the sponsorship, we hoped would be better for the industry. We hope it will help breeders make ends meet and make a big difference with the fillies,” Bullard said.

“We still sponsor Dubai Future Champions Day at Newmarket; the Darley Dewhurst is very much part of the brand.”

Through their stallion payments, Darley and Juddmonte are two of the biggest contributors to the European Breeders' Fund (EBF), which this year is contributing £2 million to prize-money in Britain and €2.7 million in Ireland through the British EBF and Irish EBF respectively.

On top of its backing of a range of high-profile European group races, Juddmonte signed up to support the juvenile series back in February, which was described at the time as “a significant and important step by the racing industry to encourage young horses to race in Britain.”

Juddmonte CEO Douglas Erskine Crum noted, “We are delighted to be supporting this well-targeted BHA initiative to enhance the competitiveness of the British racing and breeding industries. It is an effective kick-start of a long-term plan to enhance prize-money substantially for developmental races, with all the benefits that will follow for breeders and owners.”

He added, “Our sponsorship portfolio is the same as it has been for some years but this is new money for the series as we think it's so important. Prince Khalid's family was very keen to support it because they want to support British breeders. We think that these races are probably the best way to provide additional funding for the owners and breeders that we want to keep in the sport.

“In the long term, if this gathers momentum, it is possible to see that new owners will come into the sport because they will see that they can get most or all of their training fees paid by winning one of these races, and it may encourage breeders to put horses in training if it gains real traction over the next few years.

“We know that prize-money is finite, and that the USA and Australia have much higher prize-money than we do, but it is noticeable that Britain puts a lower percentage of prize-money into the developmental races than other countries, and we feel that these are the most important races of them all.”

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