The Festival at Cheltenham in March today received a significant prize money boost, leading to a new record total of £4,305,000 over the four days of the best of Jump racing.
The £190,000 input to prize money benefits 23 of the 28 races at The Festival, with the biggest increases going to the four novice chases.
The G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase and the G1 RSA Novices’ Chase both are boosted by £25,000, with the total prize money of each rising to £175,000.
There are £20,000 increases for the G1 JLT Novices’ Chase (to £150,000) and the J T McNamara National Hunt Novices’ Chase (to £120,000), while £10,000 extra goes into the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (to £110,000).
Another 18 races gain £5,000 increases, with the only contests missing out being the five most valuable – the £575,000 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, the £400,000 Stan James Champion Hurdle, the £350,000 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, the £300,000 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and the £300,000 Ryanair Chase.
The lowest prize money now offered during The Festival, which takes place from Tuesday to Friday, March 14-17 inclusive, is £45,000 for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase, with the next tier being £65,000 for two races – the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Ian Renton, Regional Director, Cheltenham & The South West, The Jockey Club, commented today: “I am delighted to announce record prize money of over £4.3 million for The Festival which represents an increase of more than 10% since 2015.
“For 2017, the major increases have gone to the novice chases, with the Racing Post Arkle and the RSA being run at £175,000 and the JLT Novices’ Chase at £150,000.
“We would like to thank all our sponsors who have assisted us in improving prize money for The Festival and look forward to four great days of racing in March.”
THE FESTIVAL 2017
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – Champion Day – Old Course
1:30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (G1) 2m 87y £125,000
2:10 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (G1) 1m 7f 199y £175,000
2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (G3) 3m 1f £105,000
3:30 Stan James Champion Hurdle (G1) 2m 87y £400,000
4:10 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (G1) 2m 3f 200y £110,000
4:50 J T McNamara National Hunt Novices' Chase (amateurs) (G2) 3m 7f 170y £120,000
5:30 Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) (0-140) 2m 4f 78y £70,000
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Ladies Day – Old Course
1:30 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (G1) 2m 5f 26y £125,000
2:10 RSA Novices' Chase (G1) 3m 80y £175,000
2:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Race (G3) 2m 5f 26y £95,000
3:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (G1) 1m 7f 199y £350,000
4:10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y £65,000
4:50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (G3) 2m 87y £80,000
5:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (National Hunt Flat Race) (G1) 2m 87y £75,000
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – St Patrick’s Thursday – New Course
1:30 JLT Novices' Chase (G1) 2m 3f 198y £150,000
2:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 2m 7f 213y £95,000
2:50 Ryanair Chase (G1) 2m 4f 166y £300,000
3:30 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (G1) 2m 7f 213y £300,000
4:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (G3) 2m 4f 166y £105,000
4:50 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (G2) 2m 179y £80,000
5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (amateurs) (0-145) 3m 2f £70,000
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Gold Cup Day – New Course
1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (G1) 2m 179y £125,000
2:10 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (G3) 2m 179y £95,000
2:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (G1) 2m 7f 213y £125,000
3:30 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (G1) 3m 2f 70y £575,000
4:10 St James's Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2f 70y £45,000
4:50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4f 56y £65,000
5:30 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (G3) 2m 62y £105,000
2017 total – £4,305,000
2016 total – £4,115,000
2015 total – £3,900,000