Leopardstown Racecourse announced today that Connolly’s Red Mills, Ireland’s leading equine feed manufacturer, is to sponsor the 2011 Irish Champion Stakes.
The sponsorship of the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes, the first of a three-year commitment, marks the company’s continued growth in both domestic and global equine feed markets. The company now exports to over 30 countries worldwide, with further markets being explored.
Joe Connolly, Managing Director of Connolly’s Red Mills said: “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of one of Europe’s most prestigious races. In these challenging times we recognise the importance of support for the industry at home, while highlighting the positives that Irish racing and its leading companies have to offer the global equine community. Our alliance with this world-renowned race will greatly assist Connolly’s Red Mills in continuing to build our global brand.”
The Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes has consistently attracted the best racehorses in the world. The race has been won in the last five years by Cape Blanco, Sea The Stars, New Approach and twice by Dylan Thomas. First run in 1976, it has held Group 1 status from the outset.
Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer of the race, winning the race with Giant’s Causeway, High Chaparral, Oratorio, Dylan Thomas and Cape Blanco. His namesake Vincent O’Brien saddled five winners including the all-time champion sire Sadler’s Wells. British-trained runners have won it 14 times, while French-trained horses have won it three times.
The €750,000 Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes is shaping up to be as exciting as any of the previous runnings of this race. The ‘King George’ market principals Workforce, St Nicolas Abbey and Rewilding stand out in a glittering array of international talent who figure among the bumper 48 entries for this year’s Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes. Last year’s winner Cape Blanco, victorious earlier this month in the Man O’War Stakes at Belmont Park in New York, is just one of a select group of proven performers at Group 1 level which Aidan O’Brien has entered from Ballydoyle.
The celebrated Australian import So You Think, bred in New Zealand and conqueror of Workforce in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last time out could be one of Ballydoyle’s prime fancies over what looks his ideal distance of a mile and a quarter. Another intriguing possible candidate is mile champion Canford Cliffs who along with fellow English-trained Snow Fairy was successful at Classic level in Ireland last season.
Ciaran Conroy, Commercial Manager of Leopardstown Racecourse said: “We are delighted to welcome Red Mills to Leopardstown as the new sponsor of the Irish Champion Stakes. We are looking forward to working with Joe Connolly and his team in optimising the opportunities presented to the Red Mills brand by being associated with Leopardstown and this world-class race.”
Red Mills is Ireland’s most successful producer of premium horse feed which is used by top flat and national hunt trainers and breeders. In addition to the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, the company’s sponsorship portfolio includes Breeder of the Year in Ireland and point-to-point races in Ireland and the UK, along with ITBA events and many sport horse competitions. The family-owned and managed business is based in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny since 1908.