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EBF and Matchbook Launch Future Stayers’ Series


Hugo Palmer, Rachael Gowland, Anna Kerr and Tom Stanley launch the Matchbook EBF Future Stayers’ Series | Emma Berry

By Emma Berry

YORK, UK—British racing’s commitment to the promotion of stayers was again emphasised at York racecourse on Thursday with the launch of the Matchbook EBF Future Stayers’ Series with a valuable £100,000 bonus available for graduates of the programme of 2-year-old races.

Having identified a lack of opportunities in the racing programme for staying-bred juveniles, in 2015 the British European Breeders’ Fund (BEBF) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) created a series of races aimed at the offspring of sires and dams who had won over ten furlongs or more. The introduction of four sire- and dam-restricted races that year has now grown into 16 2-year-old contests to be run over at least seven furlongs during the second half of the season. The BEBF has engaged in a first commercial partnership with betting exchange Matchbook to inject £128,000 into a series worth a total of £283,000.

“We’ve worked with the BHA’s race planning department to pick the right races at the right courses at the right time of year,” said the BEBF’s marketing and communications manager Rachael Gowland. “We’re especially delighted to launch on a day when a previous graduate of the sire and dam-restricted races, Line Of Duty, is set to run in the Dante Stakes, while tomorrow another graduate, Stradivarius, launches his attempt for another Stayers’ Million in the Yorkshire Cup, which is also being sponsored by Matchbook.”

Matchbook’s contribution to the project also runs to a £100,000 bonus for any 3-year-old graduate of the series who goes on to win a Group 1 race over 10 furlongs or more, which will be split between the owner, trainer, breeder and stable staff. The company is also sponsoring the best-turned-out awards for all races in the series.

“We are extremely passionate about the future of horseracing and we want our sponsorships to make a difference,” said Matchbook CEO Mark Brosnan. “We are  excited to partner with the EBF on this innovative initiative, which we believe supports the grassroots of the sport.”

Trainer Hugo Palmer, who is also a brand ambassador for Matchbook, added his support to the series at the launch. He said, “It was inevitable as everybody became less and less patient that the breeding of stayers would suffer. You do have to have more patience with a stayer, and that is expensive, but when you look at the value of these races, the winning owners will be well rewarded for horses that will perhaps eventually stay two miles.”

Along with the aforementioned Line Of Duty (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), among the graduates of the series to date are the group winners Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}), Royal Marine (Ire) (Raven’s Pass), Fighting Irish (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), Ostilio (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), Elarqam (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Derby hope Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}).

“There is an increasingly worrying bias towards breeding and buying for speed,” remarked Kerry Murphy, CEO of the EBF. “These races are programmed as ideal opportunities for our future middle-distance and staying champions. The EBF is delighted to support these races and team up with Matchbook and the racecourses in ensuring that the funds provided reach those that produce the horses.”

The Matchbook EBF Future Stayers’ Series begins at Yarmouth on Aug. 7. A full list of the races in the series can be found on the EBF website.


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