Jockey Club Racecourses, which stages 85% of Grade 1 Jumps racing in Britain, is offering a £1 million bonus if any horse wins The Jockey Club's 3+ mile ‘Chase Triple Crown’ of the Betfair Chase, William Hill King George VI Chase and Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup during the 2015/16 Jumps season.
It is hoped the £1 million bonus and prestige of winning the three Grade 1 chases that make up the Chase Triple Crown provide a strong incentive for the owners and trainers of high quality chasers, while creating a chance to heighten interest levels during the Jumps season. The bonus also ensures the jockey and stable staff will benefit and will be awarded as follows: Owner = 65%, Trainer = 15%, Jockey = 10%, Stable Staff = 10%.
Jockey Club Racecourses is launching the incentive in honour of the late Kauto Star, who achieved the feat of winning all three premier chases in the same season in 2006/7; triggering a £1 million bonus from Betfair at the time. The great chaser was retired from racing in 2012 after a glittering career and died this year. He ran in the first leg of The Jockey Club’s Chase Triple Crown five times, winning four of those Betfair Chases. He won five William Hill King George VI Chases from six runs and the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup twice in five attempts. He has permanent statues at both Haydock Park and Kempton Park.
Past iconic chasers, such as Best Mate, Desert Orchid and Arkle, who each won the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup the same season, never had the chance to complete the modern-day treble as the Betfair Chase was inaugurated in 2005.
It is now common for the very best chasers to compete in all three races. As recently as last season the bonus would have been alive going into The Festival at Cheltenham in March after Silviniaco Conti's wins at Haydock Park in November and then Kempton Park on Boxing Day. The chaser was defeated by Coneygree in the 2015 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“We want to encourage horses to attempt to win all three of our Chase Triple Crown races and forge a place in racing folklore reserved for only the very best. We've a huge amount of respect at Jockey Club Racecourses for our sport's heritage and we're keen to find new ways to encourage new historic feats like this because they create such fantastic excitement and bring British Racing to the attention of all.
“Hopefully the chance to win £1 million over-and-above our prize money for the three races makes the Chase Triple Crown opportunity even more compelling for owners and trainers, supports jockeys and stable staff too, and will provide a great story to follow if the treble is on! Kauto Star was a special racehorse and I’m delighted to announce this bonus in his honour.”
The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown:
21st November 2015 – 3 miles 24 yards, Grade 1 Betfair Chase, Haydock Park
26th December 2015 – 3 miles, Grade 1 William Hill King George VI Chase
18th March 2016 – 3 miles 2 furlongs 70 yards, Grade 1 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup
Please note the £1 million bonus is an insured sum and not funding that would otherwise go into prize money. Jockey Club Racecourses is contributing a record amount from its resources into prize money for 2015 – nearly £20 million prior to any abandonments.
If different jockeys ride the bonus-winning horse, the 10% of the £1 million for jockeys will be split 1/3rd per ride.