Kilkenny trainer Willie Mullins is sure to send a strong field to Punchestown
Will it be seventh heaven for Willie Mullins at Punchestown?
That's the incentive facing the Kilkenny trainer after it was announced that Coolmore and Irish EBF join forces for the richest mares Jump Race in Ireland and UK.
Punchestown Racecourse have welcomed Coolmore as the new co-sponsors of the Grade 1 Mares Champion Hurdle on the final day of the 2021 Punchestown Festival, Saturday May 1.
The Grade 1 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle benefits from an increased prize fund as a result of the collaboration and at €120,000 it becomes the most valuable mares race over hurdles in Ireland and the UK.
This will be the eighth running of the two-and-a-half-mile championship contest and thus far champion trainer Willie Mullins has landed six out of seven including back-to-back doubles with stars such as Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux. It was in 2017 that their former stablemate Apples Jade interrupted the clean sweep.
"Coolmore are delighted to support Punchestown and the mares programme in sponsoring this Grade 1," said Albert Sherwood, manager of Coolmore’s Grange Stud. "Cheltenham showed the quality of true National Hunt-bred racemares around at the moment so hopefully we’re in for another great renewal."
John O’Connor, Chairman of Irish EBF commented: "Irish EBF welcomes Coolmore as co-sponsor of this illustrious Grade one mares hurdle race. This collaboration will further enhance the rewards for mares and continue to attract quality runners who in turn will enhance the breeding stock for the future. Irish EBF has a strong record of supporting National Hunt mares races, with recent winners showcasing how well the programme is working. The Irish EBF board are committed to continue that focus into the future."
Punchestown CEO Conor O’Neill welcomed the announcement: "The benefits of a strategically enhanced mares programme are plain for all to see with fantastic performances in recent weeks. This grade 1 championship mares race was introduced in 2013 and has been backed by the Irish EBF ever since. The further support from a such a prestigious organisation as Coolmore elevates the race to the next level, in fact to the top level as the race is now the richest of its type in Ireland and the UK. We look forward to seeing what superstar adds her name to the list of winners."
Entries for the 2021 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle will be available from Monday, April 12.
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