11 top Jumps races at Jockey Club Racecourses upgraded

23rd July 2013

Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK’s largest racecourse group1, today announced upgrades for 11 of its leading races, including four elevated to Grade 1 status.

The news means all 15 of The Jockey Club's racecourses will put on one or multiple Class 1 races from the 2013/14 National Hunt season2.
Upgraded to Grade 1, the highest class of race-type in the sport, are the bet365.com Celebration Chase as part of the climax of the Jumps season at Sandown Park, the Jewson Novices’ Chase (registered as the Golden Miller Novices’ Chase) run at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and the Mildmay Novices’ Chase and Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at the Grand National Festival at Aintree in April.
Over the course of the 2013/14 National Hunt racing season, Jockey Club Racecourses will stage 32 of the total 38 Grade 1 races in the UK – more than 84% of the championship Jumps races in British racing. Elevated to Grade 3 are Aintree’s Betfred Becher Chase and the Grand National Festival’s 2m4f Handicap Hurdle, and Sandown Park’s Paddy Power Imperial Cup. Upgraded to Listed status are Cheltenham’s John Oaksey Memorial National Hunt Chase and The Shloer Chase, Carlisle’s Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase and Kempton Park’s William Hill Hurdle.
Richard Norris, Group Racing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
"These race upgrades demonstrate Jockey Club Racecourses’ on-going commitment to developing and enhancing the best races of the Jump season, with prize money to match.
"By attracting consistently high quality fields in recent years the races being upgraded have proven worthy of higher status, and we’re pleased to be delivering high value races in the top tiers of the race programme. The enhancements to our Class 1 races just in 2013 alone deliver more than £100,000 extra in prize money year-on-year, as part of more than £40 million in total prize money on offer at our courses this year.
"We're proud that in addition to staging more than 84% of all Grade 1s, every single Jockey Club racecourse will now host at least one, and in many cases multiple, Class 1 races. We’re confident these upgrades will deliver high value and high quality racing for horsemen and for racegoers at their local course."
The changes apply for the 2013/14 National Hunt season onwards. All upgrades have been approved by the British Horseracing Authority.
Approved Jumps race upgrades across Jockey Club Racecourses
Upgraded from Grade 2 to Grade 1
  1. Aintree, Mildmay Novices’ Chase (5yo+) 3m1f, Grand National Festival, April
  2. Aintree, Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (4yo+) 2m4f, Grand National Festival, April
  3. Cheltenham, Jewson Novices’ Chase (registered as The Golden Miller Novices’ Chase) (5yo+) 2m4f, The Festival, March
  4. Sandown Park, bet365.com Celebration Chase (5yo+) 2m, April
Upgraded from Listed to Grade 3
  1. Aintree, Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m4f, Grand National Festival, April
  2. Aintree, Betfred Becher Chase (6yo+) 3m2f, December
  3. Sandown Park, Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (4yo+) 2m, March
Upgraded from Class 2 to Listed
  1. Carlisle, Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase (5yo+) 2m 4f, November
  2. Cheltenham, John Oaksey National Hunt Chase (5yo+) 4m, The Festival, March
  3. Cheltenham, Shloer Chase (5yo+) 2m, November
  4. Kempton Park, William Hill Hurdle (4yo+) 2m, October
1By turnover (£141.2m), racecourses (15), attendances (2012: 1.8m), quality racing (Group and Graded), total prize money (2012: £35.3m) and contribution to prize money (2012: £16.5m)

2As a result of the upgrade of Carlisle’s Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase to Class 1 (Listed)