Cheltenham Festival prize money breaks £4million barrier

Horse Racing - 2014 Cheltenham Festival -  Cheltenham Gold Cup Day - Cheltenham Racecourse

Jockey Davy Russell kisses The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after winning onboard Lord Windermere. Pic: Courtesy of Jockey Club Racecourses).

By Simon Jackson.

Cheltenham racecourse has announced that prize money will exceed £4million for the first time at this year’s Cheltenham Festival which takes place from March 15 to March 18.

Total prize money of £4,115,000 will be offered for the four-day carnival that includes a record £575,000 for the feature Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on the last day.

Representatives of the Gloucester racecourse also highlighted increased stakes for the National Hunt Chase (to £100,000), the JLT Novices’ Chase (to £130,000) and the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (to £70,000).

“Cheltenham is delighted to offer record prize money of over £4 million at The Festival in 2016,” said Simon Claisse, the regional director of racing for Jockey Club Racecourses (south west) and clerk of the course at Cheltenham.

“The increase in prize money to the National Hunt Chase means that all four novices’ chases at The Festival will be worth at least £100,000, while we now also have three handicap chases matching these values.

“As previously announced, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup will be run for a record total prize fund of £575,000 this season, which consolidates its position as the most valuable Grade 1 chase anywhere in the British Isles.

“We continually strive to provide the very best experience for everyone involved with jump racing and, with these prize money increases along with the recent investment in the owners’ and trainers’ facilities and the new Owners’ and Trainers’ Bar in The Princess Royal Stand, we are proud of what we offer to owners and trainers.”

The full list of increases is as follows:

Race                                                               2015 value       2016 value       Increase

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup                               £550,000           £575,000           £25,000 (4.55%)

National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders)                  £85,000             £100,000           £15,000 (17.65%)

JLT Novices’ Chase                                            £120,000           £130,000           £10,000 (8.33%)

Weatherbys Champion Bumper                           £60,000             £70,000             £10,000 (16.67%)

Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase            £90,000             £100,000           £10,000 (11.11%)

Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle                          £80,000             £90,000             £10,000 (12.5%)

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase  £90,000             £100,000           £10,000 (11.11)

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate             £90,000             £100,000           £10,000 (11.11%)

Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle               £80,000             £90,000            £10,000 (12.5%)

Coral Cup                                                        £80,000             £90,000             £10,000 (12.5%)

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle   £50,000             £60,000             £10,000 (20%)

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase               £60,000             £65,000             £5,000 (8.33%)

Novices Handicap Chase                                    £60,000             £65,000             £5,000 (8.33%)

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.