Cheltenham-based charity WellChild has announced that almost £200,000 was raised at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
The voluntary-funded charity for seriously ill children was an official supporter of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in a new charity partnership with Jockey Club and Cheltenham Racecourse.
WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer has thanked the sport in an open letter below.
To the racing community,
Quite simply, Thank You! Last week The Festival at Cheltenham was run in support of WellChild thanks to a ground-breaking partnership created by The Jockey Club and supported by thousands of people from across the racing community.
Like so many of you, I watched the outstanding Festival coverage on ITV which, through host and WellChild Ambassador Ed Chamberlin along with fellow Ambassadors Oli Bell and Sir AP McCoy and the whole team, allowed the WellChild message to reach millions of people around the world.
Ed, the team at The Jockey Club, and others close to WellChild had told us in the build up to The Festival just how generous and warm the racing community is – but even that didn’t prepare us for the overwhelming response we have had over the past few days and weeks, an incredible and much-needed boost at such an important time.
WellChild is a voluntary-funded charity based in Cheltenham. We work across the UK with some of the country’s the most seriously ill children and young people. Like so many other organisations, the Covid-19 pandemic hit us hard, threatening more than 60 per cent of our regular income and creating unprecedented demand from families caring for children with exceptional health needs.
A remarkable number of people have reached out in the past week, and we are close to £200,000 already raised from The Festival partnership (and counting) – all of which will go towards the support services we have in place for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
From everyone at WellChild, we can’t thank the racing community enough for coming together to support us in this way and making such an incredible impact for thousands of families. The legacy of this partnership will last for many years to come.
WellChild Chief Executive
You can see all the incredible work that WellChild do and donate by visiting their website - www.wellchild.org.uk
You can now buy tickets for the Cheltenham Festival that takes place from the 15th to the 18th March 2022.
Enjoy four incredible action-packed days of racing, featuring 14 Grade One races across four seven-racecards as the best horses, trainers and jockeys go head to head.
This year's festival was dominated by the Irish horses with Rachael Blackmore, Henry De Bromhead and Willie Mullins who all had a hugely successful week.
Visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-festival/ to secure your tickets.
On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival, we go the brilliant Harry (@shakermakers over on Instagram) to mix us up a cocktail using the brand new Racing Gin from The Burford Distilling Company.
"BEFORE THE ROAR"
50ml Racing Gin
40ml Fresh Blood Orange Juice
15ml Rosemary Simple Syrup
10ml Fresh Lime Juice.
Add it all to a shaker, shake hard with ice.
Double strain into a rocks glass over ice.
There will be more live racing on terrestrial TV than ever before this year as it was announced that ITV will be showing six live races every day.
ITV have been given a one-off permission to extend its output beyond their usual five daily races by rights manager Racecourse Media Group, as it's looking more and more likely that The Festival will be held behind closed doors. This will mean the programme will run from 1pm to 4.30pm and the gap between races will be reduced to 35 minutes from 40 minutes.
There will be new provisional race times too with the first race brought forward to 1.20pm, with the feature each day moving to 3.05pm.
THE JOCKEY CLUB AND WELLCHILD ANNOUNCE MAJOR CHARITY PARTNERSHIP FOR THE FESTIVAL™ AND 2021 CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
A major new charity partnership announced today between WellChild and The Jockey Club will see Jump Racing’s flagship event, The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, and the sport’s most prestigious race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, support one of the UK’s leading charities helping seriously ill children and their families.
Several million people in the UK will watch The Festival supporting WellChild between Tuesday 16th and Friday 19th March, broadcast on ITV’s main channel and via its digital platforms. Based on Government restrictions for professional sport, currently the event’s 28 races would be staged over four days without any spectators present at the racecourse.
On the climactic Gold Cup Day will be the Grade 1 2021 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo is currently the favourite to win the race and become only the fifth horse in history to do so three or more times, alongside the legendary Best Mate, Arkle, Cottage Rake and Golden Miller.
WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and headquartered in Cheltenham. More than 100,000 children and young people are living with serious illness or exceptional health needs across the UK. Without the type of support WellChild offers, many can spend months or even years in hospital. Meanwhile those who are at home are constantly challenged by inconsistent or inadequate levels of support. The charity helps children and young people living with serious health needs to have the best chance to thrive, properly supported at home with their families.
When the COVID-19 crisis took hold, the charity lost 60% of its projected income and had to quickly adapt its services to meet a sudden and urgent demand for help from families having to deliver round-the-clock care to their children alone. The charity expanded its digital services with online information and peer-to-peer support, and set up a crisis response service in 10 days to source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to shielding families so that they can let external carers back into their home. The charity has now distributed more than 289,000 items of PPE to more than 1,000 vulnerable families across the country.
The Jockey Club, which is one of the UK’s leading sport businesses and runs Cheltenham Racecourse, hopes to build significant awareness and inspire donations for WellChild. The pair plan to launch a series of activities in the build-up to next month’s event and over the four days of racing, including a soon-to-be-launched competition to inspire children who are currently home schooling to showcase their creativity.
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild, said:
“As a national charity with its headquarters in Cheltenham, we are thrilled to have been invited to work with The Jockey Club, particularly around an event as iconic as The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
“This has been a challenging year for our organisation and the families we support, many of whom have felt hidden and isolated more than ever before. However, we have responded at every turn to ensure that families have access to the support and equipment they need to thrive at home. This partnership will bring a much-needed boost to our organisation after a challenging period and will help to ensure that we are ready to respond again in 2021 and beyond.”
Ian Renton, who runs Cheltenham Racecourse as The Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director, said:
“WellChild plays a vital role in our society supporting seriously ill children and young people, and those who care for them. Their services have been needed more than ever during the pandemic and we are very proud indeed to help such an important charity amongst our communities, including in Cheltenham.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Magners for their support in 2019 and 2020, and express our gratitude to our various and valued partners who have retained their involvement with The Festival in 2021 and those we are welcoming for the first time.”
The Jockey Club hopes to garner support for WellChild from across the British Racing industry and amongst racing fans. 20-times Champion Jump jockey, Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy, welcomed the news:
“This is a fantastic move from The Jockey Club‘s team at Cheltenham. What WellChild does is just so important when you look at it and I’m really pleased that the best four days in our sport are being put forward to help. Racing is a charitable sport, full of generous people and I’m sure they’ll get right behind this. I’ll certainly support the charity in any way I can.”
Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing’s Lead Presenter and WellChild ambassador, said:
“I have been an ambassador for WellChild for nearly ten years. When I was being treated in Southampton Hospital the children’s cancer ward was next door and broke my heart. If I recovered I vowed to support a charity that got children treated at home, rather than a hospital ward. The work WellChild do from their headquarters in Cheltenham with seriously ill children is truly remarkable. They, like all charities, have had a brutal year and I’m so thrilled about this partnership. It combines two of the passions in my life: WellChild and the Cheltenham Festival.”
Entries are unveiled today for the three G1 novices’ hurdles at The Festival™ - the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – plus the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, which is restricted to four-year-olds.
There are 96 entries in 2021, with a record 59 of those trained in Ireland. Sponsor Sky Bet make one of the Irish-trained entries, Appreciate It (Willie Mullins), the clear 5/2 favourite. The seven-year-old was runner-up in the G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival™ in 2020 and has looked hugely talented when landing both his starts over hurdles this season, most recently sauntering to a nine-length victory in a G1 contest at Leopardstown on 27 December.
To view all the entries, news and odds, click here - www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
St. James’s Place Wealth Management has renewed its brand sponsorship at Cheltenham Racecourse for a further five years, up to and including The Festival™ in 2025.
Cirencester-based St. James’s Place Wealth Management will be promoted at The Festival through the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase. First contested in 1904, the St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase takes place on the fourth and final day of The Festival (Friday, 19 March in 2021).
The extended three and a quarter mile chase was previously run as the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase and the updated race title is intended to strengthen the race’s identity as being a fundamental part of The Festival, while respecting its rich heritage as one of the leading hunter chases in the sport.
The St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase is unique in being the only race at The Festival open to trainers who are not full-time professionals. To secure a place in the field, previously race conditions required horses to have either finished in the first two in a hunters' chase on two occasions or won two open point-to-point races, or one of each, within the previous two-and-a-half years. A condition has been added for this year only as a result of the pandemic to allow horses who finish in the first four on two occasions in a hunters' chase between 20th January – 1st March 2021 to qualify.
Point-to-pointing on both sides of the Irish Sea plays a vital and complimentary role to racing under rules, often acting as a springboard for horses and jockeys to go on to achieve great success in front of a larger audience at the racecourse. The 2003 winner Kingscliff was a point-to-point graduate who went on to achieve G1 success in the inaugural running of the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in 2005.
Further back in time, perhaps the greatest ever winner of the contest was Spartan Missile in 1979, a point-to-point graduate who was owned, trained, ridden and bred by John Thorne. Spartan Missile famously went on to finish a gallant second behind Aldaniti and Bob Champion in the 1981 Grand National at Aintree. The 1981 hero and fellow point-to-point graduate Grittar actually went one better at Aintree, going on to success in the Grand National of 1982.
Many famous amateur jockeys feature on the race’s roll of honour, including Lord Oaksey, Gay Kindersley, Ted Walsh and Nina Carberry. There are also numerous examples of winning riders going on to forge highly successful careers as professionals. Two recent examples are Sam Twiston-Davies and Bryony Frost.
The St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase acknowledges Jump racing’s grassroots, while also being the source of a number of successes for women at The Festival. Jockey Caroline Beasley’s success aboard Eliogarty in 1983 was the first victory at The Festival for a female jockey and the contest has been won by female jockeys a further nine times – most recently Maxine O'Sullivan aboard It Came To Pass in 2020.
Former champion, Nina Carberry who won the race in 2015 and 2016 with companion, On The Fringe, said: ‘I was thrilled to win it twice – it’s a special race, an amateur’s gold cup which holds a lot of fond memories for me. I really like the name St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase – it reinforces the race’s connection with the Home of Jump Racing whilst also keeping its tradition as one of the sport’s most iconic Hunter Chases.’
Ian Renton, Regional Managing Director for The Jockey Club, commented: “The Jockey Club is extremely grateful to St. James’s Place for extending its generous sponsorship at The Festival. All of us at Cheltenham look forward to working with St. James’s Place for the next five seasons.”
Ian Gascoigne, Managing Director for St. James’s Place Wealth Management added: “We have been a proud sponsor at Cheltenham Racecourse for a number of years and are delighted to continue our support of a flagship event in our local community. Cheltenham Festival provides the opportunity to reach a large audience and the team continuously offer St. James’s Place a fantastic experience.”
A total of 41 horses have been entered for the Magners Gold Cup at Cheltenham to be held on Friday 19th March.
Al Boum Photo will seek to emulate Best Mate and become a triple winner of the Grade 1 encounter, ran over three miles, two furlongs and 70 yards.
There are 6 entries from Cotswolds-based trainers.
Here are all the entries. Cotswolds entries are in bold.
Acapella Bourgeois (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Al Boum Photo (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Allaho (FR) 7 W. P. Mullins IRE
A Plus Tard (FR) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Aso (FR) Venetia Williams
Battleoverdoyen (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Black Op (IRE) Tom George
Bristol de Mai (FR) Nigel Twiston-Davies
Burrows Saint (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Castlebawn West (IRE) W. P. Mullins IRE
Champ (IRE) Nicky Henderson
Cyrname (FR) Paul Nicholls
Delta Work (FR) Gordon Elliott IRE
Frodon (FR) Paul Nicholls
Imperial Aura (IRE) Kim Bailey
Itchy Feet (FR) Olly Murphy
Kemboy (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Lake View Lad (IRE) N. W. Alexander
Lord du Mesnil (FR) Richard Hobson
Lostintranslation (IRE) Colin Tizzard
Magic of Light (IRE) Mrs J. Harrington IRE
Master Tommytucker (GB) Paul Nicholls
Melon (GB) W. P. Mullins IRE
Minella Indo (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Mister Malarky (GB) Colin Tizzard
Monalee (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Native River (IRE) Colin Tizzard
Presenting Percy (GB) Gordon Elliott IRE
Real Steel (FR) Paul Nicholls
Royale Pagaille (FR) Venetia Williams
Saint Calvados (FR) Harry Whittington
Samcro (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Santini (GB) Nicky Henderson
Shattered Love (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Simply The Betts (IRE) Harry Whittington
Spyglass Hill (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Terrefort (FR) Nicky Henderson
The Conditional (IRE) David Bridgwater
Vinndication (IRE) Kim Bailey
Waiting Patiently (IRE) Ruth Jefferson
Yorkhill (IRE) Sandy Thomson
The International starts on Friday, 11 December, with the rearranged G2 Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase (1.50pm) headlining an excellent eight-race card.
The famous colours of Sea Pigeon will be on display in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle as the Jonjo O'Neill trained Tegerek runs for the first time for the brand new Jonjo O'Neill Racing Club.
Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) is aiming for a third success in the Peterborough Chase, having lifted the spoils in 2017 at Taunton and in 2019 at its usual home, Huntingdon.
The latest horse to win three runnings of Peterborough Chase was Edredon Bleu, who captured the two-and-a-half-mile contest four times between 1998 and 2001.
Top Notch, having his first start since wind surgery, is joined by stable companion Mister Fisher (Nico de Boinville), who was pulled up when fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.
Local trainer Tom George is also double handed with G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase third Bun Doran (James Bowen) and progressive Newbury handicap chase scorer Clondaw Castle (Tom Scudamore).
Kalashnikov (Jack Quinlan, pictured below) underwent wind surgery during the summer and was not disgraced on his comeback in the three-mile G3 Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park on 21 November, finishing seventh.
The seven-year-old was just touched off in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ in 2018 before going on to G1 success over fences at Aintree’s Grand National Festival the following season.
Trainer Amy Murphy said: “Kalashnikov is in good shape.
“I was really pleased with his comeback effort at Haydock, where he got tired late on and probably didn’t stay the trip on that ground.
“The Peterborough Chase wasn’t Plan A, but now it is being run on a left-handed track it made sense to go as he is much better going this way round."
A competitive line up also features Dolos (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden), Fanion d’Estruval (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch), and Glen Forsa (Mick Channon/David Bass).
Michael Scudamore is hoping Kingswell Theatre (Tom Scudamore, pictured below) can extend his winning record around Cheltenham’s unique Cross Country Course in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.00pm, 11 runners).
Kingswell Theatre caused something of a shock when landing the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at The November Meeting for a second time last month, making all to beat Beau Du Brizais (Philip Hobbs/Micheal Nolan) by five lengths despite being 18lb out of the handicap. This was the 11-year-old’s second cross country success at Cheltenham, following his victory in the Glenfarclas-sponsored contest at The November Meeting in 2017.
Scudamore said: “Kingswell Theatre seems to have come out of his latest race in fine fettle. He has been a stable star for the yard and we could not be happier with him.
“It is clearly a different race this time around. With Easysland and Potters Corner coming out of the race, he will have to carry an awful lot more weight, so we will see how he handles that.
“Carrying a lot of weight round there is going to be tough, but I suppose the big two horses being out makes it a slightly easier race, although with the likes of Step Back and Neverushacon in there, it remains a really open race.”
Enda Bolger has a formidable record in cross country races and the Co Limerick handler is represented My Hometown (Darragh O’Keeffe), one of four Irish-trained runners in the race.
There is also Irish representation in the G3 Unibet Handicap Chase (2.25pm, seven runners) courtesy of fast improving mare Court Maid (Tom Mullins/David Mullins).
Court Maid has proved a revelation over fences this season and relished a stamina test on her latest start when winning the competitive Porterstown Handicap Chase by 13 lengths at Fairyhouse on 29 November.
Novice action is provided by the British EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (11.30am, 2m 1f, six runners) and the International Decorative Surfaces Novices' Chase (12.05pm, 3m 1f 56y, five runners).
The remaining handicaps on the card are the Catesby Handicap Hurdle (12.40pm, 2m 1f, 17 runners), the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares' Handicap Chase (1.15pm, 2m4f127y, 12 runners) and Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm, 3m, 14 runners), in which Unowhatimeanharry (Harry Fry/Kevin Brogan (7)) bids to follow up a recent win at Aintree. The JP McManus-owned 12-year-old has been a real star during his career and is a four-time winner at the Home of Jump Racing, headlined by his success in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ back in 2016.
The International continues on Saturday, 12 December, when the highlights are the £112,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle (2m 1f, 10 entries) and the £105,000 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (2m 4f 127, 24 entries).
The November Meeting takes place behind closed doors this weekend at Cheltenham but fear not, you can stay involved and watch all of the unmissable action of the three-day meeting at the Home of Jump Racing.
The week kicks off on Wednesday 11th November with a November Meeting Preview Evening, featuring Ruby Walsh, retired Festival winning jockey who has a record 59 wins to his name. The panel also includes Paddy Power, ITV Racing and Grand National winner Mick Fitzgerald and trainer Emma Lavelle.
Click HERE to find out all the information, submit a question to the panel, and for all the Zoom details.
As always, Countryside Day launches The November Meeting in true Cheltenham style on Friday 13 November 2020.
Featuring six excellent races, including The Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase.
As racing is behind closed doors, stay involved from home through The Jockey Club's Jump Season Hub for a digital racecard, news, and top tips. You can also follow @cheltenhamraces on Twitter.
The November Meeting Saturday, now known as Paddy Power Day returns on Saturday 14 November 2020.
Paddy Power Day features the iconic Paddy Power Gold Cup. Happy Diva won in 2019, trained by Kerry Lee and ridden by Richard Patrick. Who will win the 2020 renewal?
The November Meeting Sunday features six thrilling races, including the feature race of the day the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. Haranbe won the 2019 renewal, ridden by Tom Bellamy, owned by Niall Farrell and friends and trained by Alan King.
For further information and for all the race schedules, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-november-meeting/
Cheltenham Racecourse have launched a jump racing hub for you to enjoy all the racing, news and views from the comfort of your own home.
You can also see updates of the going from Simon Claisse, the racecards for all the races, as well as all the race replays moments after the races have finished.
Click RACE AT HOME WITH CHELTENHAM to find our more.
Racing returns to Cheltenham with The Showcase on Friday, 23 October and Saturday, 24 October. The two-day meeting is the first action to be staged at The Home of Jump Racing since The Festival™ in March. In accordance with government COVID-19 regulations, the meeting will take place behind closed doors.
You can follow the action with the Jockey Club's new Racing At Home service.
There are seven races on each day of The Showcase with Saturday's highlight being the £48,000 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase (3.50pm) over three miles and a furlong. Heading the 17 entries is Frodon (Paul Nicholls), who famously landed the 2019 G1 Ryanair Chase at The Festival™ under Bryony Frost. The eight-year-old is a five-time winner at Cheltenham and was last seen when fourth in the 2020 Ryanair Chase. Also engaged is Cogry (Nigel Twiston-Davies), winner of this race in 2017. The 11-year-old went on to be second in 2018 and third in 2019.
Another possible starter is Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford). The 10-year-old finished fourth to Tiger Roll in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National and is twice a winner over the Grand National fences at Aintree, having taken the Randox Health Becher Chase in 2018 and 2019.
Dorset-based Robert Walford said today: "Walk In The Mill is in good form and a possible runner at Cheltenham on Saturday. It all depends on the weather but if it is good to soft, he will take his chance.
"We are delighted with him at home and he seems to be in really good order. He had a nice summer break and obviously we were gearing up for the Grand National until COVID-19 intervened. We are looking forward to seeing him back in action.
"The Grand National is again a potential long-term target for Walk In The Mill. The big race we will target first however again is the Becher Chase. He has a fine record in the race and we just need to get one run into him before we head to Aintree."
Saturday's action gets underway with the Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.05pm) which takes place over an extended two miles for four-year-olds only. The roll of honour includes dual Randox Health Grand National hero Tiger Roll (2014) as well as subsequent Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase scorer Dodging Bullets (2012).
The top-rated performer among the 11 entries is the front running Allmankind (Dan Skelton), a G2 winner over the course and distance at The November Meeting last season before going on to win the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in December. He ended the campaign when third in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival™, a race in which Sir Psycho (Paul Nicholls) finished fifth.
rainer Dan Skelton said: "Allmankind is in good form and Saturday's contest at Cheltenham has been the plan since the start of the season.
"The Masterson Holdings Hurdle is an ideal race to run in given it is against four-year-olds, so he can take on his age group one last time before he takes on the older horses.
"He has to carry a penalty, but he is a G1 winner. I would just like to see a bit of rain, but he is a planned runner at the moment. I am really happy with him at home and he is ready to start.
"He just ran quite flat at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle. I am not saying he would have beaten Goshen in the Triumph Hurdle, but he just ran very flat in that race.
"There is no point dwelling on the past and we are looking forward to getting him started. It is a new season, with a new start and new objectives."
An intriguing contest could be further enhanced by Grand Roi (Gordon Elliott), successful in three of his four starts when with Nicky Henderson last season, and the potentially unexposed performers Botox Has (Gary Moore) and Monte Cristo (Nicky Henderson).
Fusil Raffles (Nicky Henderson), G1 winner at Punchestown in 2019, tops the 10 entries for the Best Odds At Matchbook Novices' Chase (2.40pm) over just under two and a half miles.
Mossy Fen (Nigel Twiston-Davies) landed the G2 Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick in January before going to finish fifth in the G1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at The Festival™ and is likely to make his chasing debut at The Showcase.
Carl Hinchy, who owns Mossy Fen in partnership with Mark Scott, said today: "Mossy Fen is in fine form and the plan is to head to Cheltenham this weekend. He will either run on Friday [Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices' Chase, 3m ½f] or on Saturday, but we haven't made a decision yet as to which race to target.
"Mossy Fen is a point-to-point winner and he has schooled very well. We are excited about getting his season underway, but we would not want to risk him to early in the season on watered ground. Rain is forecast so hopefully it will ease the ground so he can run."
This could also be another fascinating contest with the likes of recent Listed Chepstow winner Grand Sancy (Paul Nicholls) and Pileon (Philip Hobbs), the short-head runner-up in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at The Festival™, also holding entries.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.15pm, 32 entries) over three miles is the first race in the series of qualifiers for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at The Festival™. Horses need to finish in the first six in a qualifier to be eligible for the contest at The Festival™. Tobefair (Debra Hamer), the neck runner-up in the 2019 contest at The Festival™, won this qualifying contest 12 months ago and is entered once again.
Completing Saturday's programme are the Showcase Novices' Hurdle (4.25pm, 3m, 11 entries), the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (5.00pm, 3m 1f, 20 entries) and the concluding Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.35pm, 22 entries).
Friday's programme at The Showcase runs from 1.50pm through to 5.15pm and is headlined by the £48,000 October Handicap Chase (3.35pm, 17 entries). This contest was previously run on the Saturday of The Showcase. The weights are headed by G2-placed Dolos (Paul Nicholls), who is entered alongside stablemate Getaway Trump, runner-up in G1 company over hurdles and the comfortable winner of a beginners' chase at Warwick on 1 October.
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good. The forecast is for an unsettled week, with rain at times. Racing at The Showcase takes place on the Old Course.
Cheltenham Racecourse, together with the British Horseracing Authority, have today confirmed that the new Grade 2 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase to be run at The Festival 2021 will replace the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase, which was traditionally run on the opening day.
A decision as to which race would be replaced by the inaugural running of the 2m 4f Grade 2 mares’ chase was made after consultation with key stakeholders, including trainers from Britain and Ireland over several months.
Recognising the importance of the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase to the Jump racing season, the BHA Jump Pattern Committee has given permission for the race to be staged at Sandown Park as part of the Paddy Power Imperial Cup meeting just days before The Festival.
The new Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase will be run on Gold Cup day, with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase moving to the Wednesday and the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle moving to the opening day.
Cheltenham Racecourse Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, explained:
“We’re looking forward to being able to bring the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase into the racing calendar for The Festival 2021. Not only is this a great example of the sport working together to boost the mares’ race programme in Britain to benefit the industry, but we also now have an improved mares’ population providing quality competition.
“Deciding which race to replace was not an easy decision and it was important that we took into account all the factors and feedback we received. But when we evaluated the other Novice Chase opportunities at The Festival, as well as the importance of maintaining the current balance of Chases and Hurdles over the four days, this was considered the best option.”
Ruby Walsh, winner of 59 races at The Festival, added:
“The Mares’ Chase will prove a great addition to The Festival, especially when it beds in over a three or four year period. Jumps horses rarely have a financial value when they finish racing but for owners who are lucky enough to have a good mare, they can be worth a considerable amount as brood mares and thus owners get some return on their investment.
“Therefore the need for mares-only races is paramount for the value of unraced fillies, to encourage owners to buy them as racehorses. Having the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase to go along with the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle adds to the attraction of purchasing a filly. Cheltenham are showing their support to the breeding industry by adding this race and in my opinion showing a loyalty to the whole horseracing industry and not just the sport.”
Paul Mallon, Paddy Power’s Head of Brand, said:
“The race is brilliant in providing further opportunities to those racing mares under National Hunt rules and hopefully the winners of our race will go on to emulate the great Dawn Run by scooping the Cheltenham Gold Cup.”
Annie Mc from the Jonjo O'Neill stables could be one of the runners in the new race.
Leading bookmaker Paddy Power will return as sponsors of The November Meeting’s feature race, the G3 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse on Paddy Power Day, Saturday 14th November 2020.
The race, which is the showpiece of Britain’s third most popular jumps fixture, was sponsored by Paddy Power for 13 consecutive years from 2003 until 2015, during which time winners included Imperial Commander, Our Vic and Al Ferof. The bookmaker has now signed a three-year sponsorship deal for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 renewals.
The Grade 3 Handicap chase is worth £130,000 and attracts a high class field each year. In 2019 fans were treated to a thrilling finish up the famous Cheltenham Hill as Happy Diva held off Brelan D’As on the line by just a neck.
The race takes place on the second day of what is traditionally the third most attended Jump racing fixture in the UK, behind only The Festival™ at Cheltenham in March and the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree in April.
Ruby Walsh, the winning-most jockey at the Cheltenham Festival, said: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham is an early highlight in the National Hunt season. I always felt the November meeting really signalled the beginning of the jumps season proper. There’s not many Grade One horses who contest handicaps any more but the Paddy Power Gold Cup comes at a time in the season when people might take a chance. But not all work out let’s remember - Frodon, Thisthatandtother and Long Run all failed here before achieving glory in March and others have succeeded like Imperial Commander and Our Vic. Either way, plenty of future Grade One names crop up at the November meeting in a bid to scoop a good pot in handicap company as a stepping stone to the top level.”
ITV Racing’s Mick Fitzgerald, who won the race in 2003 aboard Fondmort, added: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the Jump season. When I won it in 2003 it meant an awful lot to me because it was another one of the big ones that I had ticked off the list. To win it on Fondmort was special as he was just a very special horse and to add that race to my CV meant plenty.”
As well as the Gold Cup, Paddy Power will sponsor four other races at The November Meeting:
Friday 13 November
13:50 The Paddy Power Handicap Chase (0-150) (Class 2)
Saturday 14 November
13:50 The Paddy Power Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
14:25 The Paddy Power Gold Cup Steeplechase (Grade 3)
15:00 The Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle Race (Listed)
15:30 The Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle Race (0-140) (Class 2)
Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Director, Cheltenham & the South West, said: “The November Meeting has become a huge event for us and is considered a key milestone in the Jump racing calendar, particularly the feature race on day two, now known as Paddy Power Day.
“It is wonderful to be able to welcome Paddy Power back as our lead sponsors over the meeting to help us showcase three of the most exciting days of racing our sport has to offer.”
Carey Weeks, Regional Head of Partnerships, added: “Paddy Power was a huge part of The November Meeting and synonymous with the fixture’s Gold Cup race for many years so we’re delighted to be partnering with them again.
“We thoroughly enjoy working with the team and we’re excited to see how they help bring to life the November Meeting. No doubt they will have some tricks up their sleeve!”
Paul Mallon, Paddy Power’s Head of Brand, said: “We returned to sponsorship at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day 2020 and the success of these initiatives, including subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Santini landing the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase and Lisnagar Oscar scoring in our jewel in the crown Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival, meant as a company with a huge racing tradition supporting the Paddy Power Gold Cup again wasn’t too hard a sell to the Powers that be.”
Paddy Power (himself) added: “England fans have spent a lot of time singing ‘It’s coming home,’ over the last few years, but unlike them, I feel it actually has for us! We loved sponsoring the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which don’t forget went to a later Cheltenham Gold Cup hero in Imperial Commander in 2008, and I’m absolutely over the moon at being associated with my favourite race again. We’d like to thank the previous sponsors for keeping it warm for us.”
The November Meeting takes place from Friday 13th November to Sunday 15th November.
The Cheltenham & South West Syndicate is for Jump racing fans who share the dream of a Festival winner and have a love for our sport: horse racing. Here is your opportunity to experience racehorse ownership for a one-off fee and become part owners of three fantastic Jump racehorses.
The Syndicate features a host of benefits including complimentary membership to Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick, and Wincanton for their 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Jump racing season.
By the use of a fair ballot system, members will share the opportunity to go racing with our horses and enjoy the full benefits and facilities on offer for Owners & Trainers at the racecourse in question.
Membership should not be seen as an investment; it’s for the fun, excitement, and ups and downs of racehorse ownership.
Purchase your two-year membership today, for an one-off fee of £3,250.
MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS INCLUDE:
Cheltenham & South West Syndicate horse Diamond River, trained by Nicky Henderson
It's always an exciting time with Cheltenham just around the corner.
I will start with Annie Mc at Bangor. It was great that she won again and I was so pleased with the way she jumped because it was real testing sticky ground and she jumped out of it like it was good ground. She's definitely going the right way and will be entered in the Novices' Handicap over 2 and a half miles on the Tuesday at the Marsh Novices' Chase and the Plate on the Thursday. It will probably be between the two races on the Thursday but we will be deciding nearer the time.
The journey with Annie has been amazing, with Chris [Hughes] and everyone at Coral, We have been very lucky and you have to pinch yourself sometimes that we have stumbled on such a nice mare.
There was plenty of pressure on my ride on Native River at Newbury but I just tried to take it in my stride. It was a huge day and definitely the most important success of my career so far. Hopefully it will springboard a few more opportunities. He was deadly and jumped fantastically well. The blinkers definitely sharpened him up. I am very lucky.
It's desperately sad to hear that he will miss the Gold Cup and the National and I'm gutted for the Tizzards, Mr and Mrs Broom, Brocade Racing, and Dickie [Johnson]. It looked like he was really coming back to form and it's just really frustrating and unfortunate for everyone.
Copperhead was very good at Ascot last week. He put decent horses to bed very quickly, jumped them into submission really and was relentless in the finish. I don't think we found the bottom of him. Whether he goes for the National Hunt Chase or RSA Chase at Cheltenham, he'll be a huge ride in either race but we'll see where the connections want to go. He's going to be very exciting and will only improve with some summer grass on him.
Photo courtesy of Nigel Kirby
It's been a really good busy month with over 50 runners and a few winners which is always nice.
I have to start with Annie Mc. It's great that she has won her second Novice Chase. The horses she is beating are not mugs. She beat If You Say Run the first time at Wincanton who's a good yard stick, and was wasn't too far away from Reserve Tank who was a dual-grade one winner over hurdles last year. She beat one of Alan King's mares who is rated at 140 decisively at Wetherby. She jumped great and is getting better and better with each run.
She will probably go to a normal Novice Chase next with two penalties but will get a Mares' allowance so will probably only be offset by 3lbs. If she won that, we would definitely to have start thinking about the Cheltenham Festival with her, either the handicap or the Grade 1 Marsh Chase. Her next run will probably tell us a lot more. She's going the right way and we're very excited about her.
It was good to get Django Django on the right track. I was really impressed with the first day behind Erick Le Rouge and Not That Fuisse at Uttoxeter which is really good form. He was disappointing the next time at Aintree with Bryony but to be fair, he lost his two hind shoes so there's an excuse for that run. He looked very strong in the finish at Newbury and won going away. He does look like he could turn into a National horse next year but he has a long way to go but he does have that way about him. He's a horse I have always really liked and has probably still got another year until he reaches his full potential. A horse we're very much looking forward to for some lucky owners who are very loyal to us at Jackdaws Castle.
We really fancied Knight Destroyer in the Fred Winter at The Festival couple of years ago when he fell and it was great to see him win again at Taunton. He had a major pelvis injury, which he has now got over, and seemed to lose a bit of confidence. I would say we will be going over fences sooner rather than later. He suits the tight tracks and making all the running and it's great he got his confidence back and really deserved the win.
Arrivederci beat a strong field at Wincanton. He was due a win after coming second behind Fiddlerontheroof last time out at Sandown who went on to win a Grade 1. He's got very good form, he came third to Tea Clipper at Warwick who has gone onto win a few races since. He's progressing nicely and is going to be a chaser for next year and definitely a horse to look forward to.
It was good for the veteran Valadom to get back to his winning grove at Catterick, and good placing by Richard Hobson. He runs at Musselburgh tomorrow in a similar race but I won't be riding him as I will at Sandown.
Beaufort West was very good at Fontwell for Colin Tizzard. He quickened away nicely and really impressed me. It will be interesting to see where they go with him now. I think he could go for a handicap race at Cheltenham, perhaps the Martin Pipe or Coral Cup.
It was very exciting to win Conditional Jockey of the Year at The Lesters. It's a huge honour to win a Lester award as it's your peers who are voting. I feel very lucky that I have a good network behind me and around me. It really does make you appreciate how lucky we are that we live in a such a good weighing room where the camaraderie is great.
I'm extremely grateful and feel very privileged to get asked to ride Native River and to be associated with a Gold Cup winner. It's a huge call up which I'm relishing and don't take lightly. It's Dicky's (Johnson) ride and hopefully he'll be back fit for Cheltenham but it's great to be riding him at Newbury and hopefully it works out well. He won very well at Aintree last time and the blinkers seem to sharpen him up. I'm very much looking forward to Newbury next weekend!
I have three good rides for Mr Tizzard at Sandown tomorrow (Saturday 1st Feb). Elderado Allen in the Champion Hurdle Trial. He's pretty unexposed and ran really well on comeback when he was second at the same track earlier this month. Vision Des Flos in the Scilly Isles Grade One Novices Chase. He's bee a very good horse who won at Chepstow last time very comfortably and has a good chance n what looks like a open race. Mister Malarky runs in the Masters Handicap Chase. He ran very well in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier in the season. If he returns to that kind of form he should go close.
Cheltenham Racecourse opens its doors for its final raceday before the The Festival™ presented by Magners in March on Saturday 25 January, Festival Trials Day.
With seven cracking races on the card, including the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase, often considered a trial for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle which always produces key contenders for The Festival™ presented by Magners.
Last year, we saw three winners from Festival Trials Day go on to success at the Cheltenham Festival, including the formidable Frodon and Bryony Frost, Paisley Park winning for trainer Emma Lavelle and owner, Andrew Gemmell who has been blind since birth, and Lizzie Kelly aboard Siruh Du Lac.
Popular Irish contemporary band, Lampa will be back to perform on The Centaur stage after racing to keep the celebrations going.
Tickets are available to buy online from £12 in advance - www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/festival-trials-day/
BUY BEFORE 31ST JANUARY AT 10:59AM FOR THE BEST PRICE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TICKETS
The line-up of DJ's in The Park at the Cheltenham Festival is now complete.
Nick Grimshaw (Day One) and Laura Whitmore (Day Two) were already confirmed, and they have now been joined by Roman Kemp (Day Three) and Marvin Humes (Day Four).
The Park is a brand new addition to The Festival™ presented by Magners, featuring entertainment and live music throughout the day, a range of new bars showing live racing and boasting an electric atmosphere, followed by a 90 minute DJ set at 4:30pm.
The entries for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase have been announced for The Festival™ presented by Magners at Cheltenham in March.
Altior heads 31 entries for the £400,000 Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Chase, the highlight of day two at the four-day event.
Memorable 2019 winner Frodon is among 44 entries for the £350,000 Ryanair Chase on day three. His win was part of an unforgettable hour at Prestbury Park with the Andrew Gemmell Paisley Park winning an emotional Stayers' Hurdle in the following race.
The Festival takes place from 10-13 March 2020.
BUY YOUR TICKET BEFORE 31ST JANUARY AT 10:59AM FOR THE BEST PRICE.
There are 31 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup that takes place on Friday 13th March 2020.
Last year's winner Al Boum Photo is the current favourite.
Local entries include the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol de Mai and The Conditional trained by David Bridgewater.
The Festival™ presented by Magners takes place at Chelteham Racecourse from 10-13 March 2020
There is no better place to start 2020 than a day at Cheltenham.
There will be seven races, including two Grade 2 contests and a whole heap of complimentary entertainment in the Family Fun Zone. Under 18s go free!
Why not enhance your day at the races and book hospitality or your own private box from just £155? We can't think of a better way to kick off the new decade!
There is an exciting brand new addition to The Festival™ presented by Magners at Cheltenham Racecourse in March 2020.
Featuring entertainment and live music throughout the day, The Park will boast a range of new bars showing live racing and boasting an electric atmosphere and a 90 minute DJ set at 4:30pm.
Radio 1 presenter Nick Grimshaw and Laura Whitmore have been confirmed for Day One and Two.
From the heights of a Ferris wheel, the buzz of the Magners bar and street food to live music from The Wandering Wings throughout the day, there is something for everyone.
Admission into The Park is available to racegoers with a Club or Tattersalls ticket, simply purchase as an upgrade in advance from just £15 per person (save £10 off the on-the-day price).
18-28 Members will receive a complimentary wristband for The Park and exclusive access to the Members only area, The Love Ireland Bar.
It's been a great couple of weeks which started with Soaring Glory winning, in my opinion, a very strong bumper at Ascot on bad ground. It was pleasing that he put daylight between the second and third who are both good horses. He still has to go forward but it looks like he has the world at his feet at the minute. He will probably return to Ascot next Friday in a listed bumper.
It was a really nice surprise to have a 40/1 winner on Who Shot Jr for Colin Tizzard in the Novice Hurdle at Taunton. He won nicely, although I'm not sure it was the deepest of races. However, he had come on a lot from his first two experiences at Chepstow and Wincanton.
I had great ride in the Hennessy at Newbury on Mr Malarky. He ran a cracker. I thought 3-out that he had a right chance. He probably didn't quite see out the trip but the cheek pieces definitely made a difference to him and there's definitely a good race for him to win this year. It was nice to see him back to his usual self.
Plumpton on Monday was a great day. I was just touched off on Bean In Trouble in the first which was a little frustrating. Adicci battled really nicely to win over 2 miles. It was a good performance and a nice horse for the future. He definitely will get further in time as he's from the same family as Black Jack Ketchum. It was great to ride out my claim too and to do it on one of dad's made it even more special.
We had a comfortable success at Lingfield on Tuesday with Maypole Class, followed by Cobolobo winning very nicely at Haydock on Wednesday after a good display of jumping.
Huntingdon produced another winner with Pagero. Hopefully we might get him out at the end of the week as he runs without a penalty.
Quarenta jumped nicely to win what turned out to be, a two-horse race at Fontwell yesterday. It was the feature race and good pot to win.
The horses are in great form at the minute. That's 6 winners in the last 9 days so hopefully it can continue!
There's no better way to get into the festive spirit than The International meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December 2019.
Don your Christmas jumpers on both days that will boast 14 thrilling races, including The BetVictor Handicap Steeple Chase and Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Friday and The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and The Unibet International Hurdle on Saturday.
Racegoers will have the chance of winning on the spot prizes for the most fun and festive jumper and prizes will include a pair tickets to any of the forthcoming race meetings including The Festival™, presented by Magners.
Alongside the racing, racegoers will also get the chance to browse the stands in The Shopping Village, useful for those last minute Christmas presents.
Gates open at 10am on both days, with the first race at 12.10pm.