A further, significant, incentive towards the ownership of Jumping mares has been announced today by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) as two Mares’ Chases are set to be run for substantially increased prize money in 2018 and beyond.
The Listed Lady Protectress Chase at Huntingdon (22 February) and Listed Yorkshire Silver Vase at Doncaster (29 December) will now be run for a total prize fund of £75,000 each, after both were targeted for a £25,000 boost from the BHA’s Development Fund.
The extra funding was agreed following commitments from both Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) and Arena Racing Company (ARC) to maintain their own investment into the races, both this year and in future years.
Stu Middleton, Racing Manager for the BHA, said
“This is the latest in a long line of initiatives and investments the sport has made into mares races. With their own branch of the Challenger Series, two dedicated races at the Cheltenham Festival, a number of new Listed and Graded race opportunities as well as a selection of high value Pattern races throughout the year, there has never been a more exciting time to own a Jumping mare.
“Our thanks go to The Jockey Club and ARC for sharing our vision for the mares’ programme. This does not mark the end of our investment in this category and we look forward to announcing further initiatives and incentives in due course.”
Trainer Harry Fry, who has enjoyed recent success with a number of quality mares – including multiple Listed Chase winner Desert Queen – said:
“The mares’ programme has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and it is great to see these Mares’ Chases now receiving this extra funding. You can really see the benefit this investment has brought in how competitive these mares’ races are becoming.
“We are lucky to have had some success from the enhanced programme, particularly with Desert Queen who we will very much be aiming at the race at Huntingdon in February.”
Jack Pryor, Clerk of the Course at Huntingdon Racecourse, said:
“We’re delighted that Huntingdon Racecourse and The Jockey Club is able to play a key role in developing the mares programme. We’re hoping this investment, from ourselves and the BHA, will deliver a top class race that is a notable target at which horsemen will aim their top mares”.
Jon Pullin, Racing Director for ARC, said:
“ARC is happy to support the BHA’s efforts in recent seasons to promote the mares’ jumps programme, and we have been delighted to be able work with them to implement this £25,000 upgrade to the Yorkshire Silver Vase at Doncaster in December.
“It’s a race that’s been going from strength to strength in recent years, and it is a fantastic boost to Doncaster Racecourse to be able to host what we hope will become a valuable addition to the popular racing schedule between Christmas and New Year”.
Notes to editors:
1. Initiatives which have been put in place to bolster the mares’ Jumping programme so far:
2003 – Introduction of three Class 2, £30,000 Open Mares’ Handicap Hurdles at Wincanton, Kempton and Ayr, match-funded by the BHA Development Fund.
2007 – Introduction of three WFA Listed Hurdles at Wetherby, Kempton and Sandown and three Grade 2’s at Ascot, Doncaster and Cheltenham (David Nicholson).
2012 – Introduction of seven Listed Mares’ Novices’ Hurdles, across the age and distance categories.
2013 – Introduction of two additional Mares’ National Hunt Flat races in the autumn, to complement the existing races at Sandown and Aintree in the spring.
2014 – Further Listed Hurdle added at Warwick in February.
2014 – The first (non-novices’) Listed Mares’ WFA Steeple Chase introduced at Doncaster in December.
2015 – David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle promoted to Grade 1
2015 – The Board approved a new Rule for Jump racing requiring each racecourse to run a minimum of one mares’ race for every three Jump racing fixtures it schedules.
2015/16 – Two further (non-novices’) Listed Mares’ WFA Steeple Chases introduced at Carlisle in November and Huntingdon in February.
2016 – Introduction of new Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle to the Cheltenham Festival and the upgrade of Sandown’s ‘Jane Seymour’ Listed Novices’ Hurdle to Grade 2.
2016/17 – Addition of Mares’ Chase Series to the Challenger Series, including 10 qualifying races and a £50,000 Final.
2016/17 – Addition of four further Listed Mares’ Chases to race programme
2018 – Additional investment in two Listed Mares’ Chases, to be run for prize money of £75,000 each in 2018 and beyond