05 Oct 2006 Pre-2014 Releases

The £300,000 Order of Merit, again encompassing all non-novice Grade 1, 2 and 3 races between October and April, kicks off at Aintree later this month, and last season’s Champion Novice Hurdler Black Jack Ketchum has been made 3/1 favourite with Blue Square to land the overall prize.

The points-based series, now in its third season, aims to boost field sizes in Britain’s top Jumps races and to encourage owners and trainers to campaign their leading horses with the Order of Merit in mind. Since its inception, the percentage of Graded races over the season with fewer than eight runners has fallen from around half to under a quarter.

Following a review at the end of its second season and feedback from owners, trainers and other key stakeholders, the points and prize money structure has been amended slightly. Points will now only be awarded down to sixth place in qualifying races, while the Top Chaser and Top Hurdler prizes have been replaced with awards for the second and third-placed horses on the leaderboard at the end of the season. The overall winner’s prize remains at the same level.

The new points and prize money structure is as follows:

  Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Prize Money
1st 20 15 10 Overall Winner £200,000
2nd 16 12 8 2nd Place £75,000
3rd   12 10 6 3rd Place £25,000
4th 10 8 5 Owner £75%
5th 8 6 4 Trainer 12.5%
6th  6 4 3 Stable Team 12.5%

The series remains jointly-funded by BHB and the sixteen racecourses that stage Graded races.

Two races have been upgraded into the Jump Pattern for the 2006/07 season – the Mears Group Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham in December over an extended 2m 5f, now a Grade 2, and the Newbury Gold Cup Chase at Newbury in March over 2m 4f, now a Grade 3 – bringing the total of Order of Merit races up to 65. The Order of Merit will also be staged at Ascot for the first time this season, following the course’s re-development. The first race in the series will be the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on 22 October, and the Order of Merit will again climax at Sandown Park on 28 April with the Betfred Gold Cup.

As well as Black Jack Ketchum, other contenders worthy of note include Paul Nicholls’ leading chaser Kauto Star, 5/1 with Blue Square. Henry Daly’s Mighty Man and last season’s runner-up Monkerhostin are both 7/1, whilst the 2005/06 overall winner, Royal Shakespeare, is available at 25/1.

BHB Marketing Director Chris John said: “Jump Racing is thriving, and the Order of Merit has been a major contributor to this current success. The number of our top races with more than eight runners continues to rise, many of the stars of our sport are seen out earlier in the campaign, and the series provides dedicated fans and casual followers alike with a common thread linking the whole season.

“We have also listened to the constructive feedback from all those involved in the Order of Merit, and the amendments made to the points and prize structure reflect this, ensuring that those horses that have been in contention at the top of the leaderboard throughout the season are properly rewarded, without diminishing the overall prize.”

Blue Square’s Kate Miller said: “We are thrilled to be involved with the Order of Merit and look forward to seeing the competition develop over the coming months. Black Jack Ketchum is one of the rising stars of National Hunt and will surely be involved heavily next season.

“Terry Warner’s Detroit City will be steadily campaigned and is also sure to figure highly, and old favourite Monkerhostin could be there or thereabouts again with another varied distance campaign.”


Outright Betting – E/W ¼ 1-2-3 – Ante Post Rules Apply

3 Black Jack Ketchum
5 Kauto Star
7 Mighty Man
7 Monkerhostin
10 Our Vic
16 Voy Por Ustedes
16 Mister McGoldrick
20 Celestial Gold
20 Well Chief
20 Detroit City
20 Straw Bear
25 Ashley Brook
25 Lacdoudal
25 Royal Shakespeare
25 Monet’s Garden
25 Desert Quest
33 Inglis Drever
33 Newmill
33 Star De Mohaison
33 Noble Request
33 War Of Attrition
33 Faasel
33 Asian Maze
33 Brave Inca
33 Harchibald
33 Fondmort
33 Arcalis
33 My Will
33 No Refuge
33 Thisthatandtother
40 Kingscliff
50 Racing Demon
50 Take The Stand
50 Impek
50 Trabolgan
50 Hoo La Baloo
100 Napolitain
100 Ollie Magern
100 Royal Auclair
100 Fire Dragon