Horseracing connections have welcomed the return of The Jockey Club’s Grassroots Jumps Series for the 2013/2014 National Hunt season, which sees the largest commercial organisation in British racing putting up
£100,000 of prize money for two finals at Haydock Park Racecourse on Easter Saturday 19 April 2014.
The Series is part of The Jockey Club’s commitment to support all levels of British racing and aims to provide opportunities for horses operating below the highest level to compete for considerable prize money. Since it began in 2011, the initiative has been well supported by connections with the finals attracting substantial fields.
Consisting of 32 Class 3 and 4 qualifiers, the 2013/2014 Series will start at Market Rasen Racecourse on Thursday 21 November 2013. Staged exclusively at 10 of The Jockey Club’s racecourses, the Series is split into two categories, Chase and Hurdle, which lead up to two £50,000 corresponding finals at Haydock Park Racecourse.
To be eligible to compete in either the 2m6f Class 2 Open Handicap Chase Final or 2m4f Class 2 Open Handicap Hurdle Final, horses need to have run in at least one of the equivalent qualifying races.
With Jockey Club Racecourses in the first group of racecourses to sign three-year Prize Money agreements with The Horsemen’s Group that represents owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys and stable staff, the group has been granted ‘Premier Tier’ status from 2014. The ‘Premier’ classification by the Horsemen’s Group recognises The Jockey Club’s prize money record, which sees it contributing from its own resources a historic high of more than £18 million in 2013 across its 15 racecourses, as well as a commitment to put at least 40% of betting-related media growth over the next three years into prize money.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director, Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“Supporting and developing all levels of the sport in the pursuit of delivering a competitive programme of racing is extremely important to The Jockey Club and we have been delighted by the continued interest The Jockey Club Grassroots Jumps Series has received from horsemen.
“As the racecourse group investing the most into prize money, we hope the third running of the Series will continue to grow in popularity, with connections attracted to the £100,000 of prize money on offer at the finals.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive, Professional Jockeys Association, said:
"Having two valuable finals at Haydock Park is great news for jump racing in the North, and with decent midweek races added to the mix I'm sure this initiative will be welcomed by jockeys and also anyone who enjoys jump racing.”
Richard Wayman, Chief Executive, Racecourse Owners Association, said:
“We are delighted to see the return of this excellent initiative which is understandably popular with those that own horses competing below the highest level.
“National Hunt racing could not exist without the loyal and enthusiastic owners who operate at its grassroots level, usually for little financial return, and providing a serious prize for these owners to target is a big encouragement.”
Racehorse trainer, Brian Ellison, who won The Jockey Club Grassroots Hurdle Series Final in March 2013 with Fleet Dawn as well as winning both 2011/12 Betfair Jumps Series finals, said:
“Initiatives like this are great for those owners and trainers who operate outside the top-tier of British racing. The massive £100,000 on offer for the Class 2 finals provides a huge incentive and is definitely a target I have in mind for some of my horses at the start of the season as well as appealing to potential owners looking to invest in a racehorse.”
Racehorse trainer, Caroline Bailey, who won The Jockey Club Grassroots Chase Series Final in March 2013 with Noble Legend, said:
“The finals were definitely a target for me when I saw the level of prize money on offer; it’s not every day a small yard has the opportunity to send their horses out to compete in a £50,000 race. I know my owners will welcome the return of this initiative, which supports the foundation levels of the sport.”
Jockey, Danny Cook, who rode Fleet Dawn to victory in The Jockey Club Grassroots Chase Series Final in
March 2013, said:
“It’s always great having a winner but it certainly makes it sweeter when there is a substantial prize pot on offer! It’s great that the Series is aimed to reward those involved in the sport outside of the top-level and having two £50,000
Class 2 finals definitely provides an attractive target for owners to aim for.”
2013 races (2014 announced in due course)
Chase Series Qualifiers:
21/11/2013 - Market Rasen, 2m6f 0-125 Handicap Chase, Class 3
25/11/2013 – Kempton, 2m4f 0-135 Handicap Chase, Class 3
05/12/2013 – Wincanton, 3m1f 0-125 Handicap Chase, Class 3
13/12/2013 – Cheltenham, 2m5f 0-125 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase, Class 3
19/12/2013 – Exeter, 2m3f 0-120 Handicap Chase, Class 4
31/12/2013 – Warwick, 3m 0-120 Handicap Chase, Class 4
Hurdle Series Qualifiers:
21/11/2013 - Market Rasen, 2m5f 0-120 Handicap Hurdle, Class 4
01/12/2013 – Carlisle, 2m3.5f 0-120 Amateur Riders Handicap Hurdle, Class 4
06/12/2013 – Sandown, 2m 0-120 Novice’s Handicap Hurdle, Class 4
19/12/2013 – Exeter, 2m1f 0-135 Handicap Hurdle, Class 3
26/12/2013 – Market Rasen, 2m3f 0-120 Handicap Hurdle, Class 4
30/12/2013 – Haydock, 2m4f 0-120 Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle, Class 4