Aintree renames newly promoted Grade 2 in memory of Many Clouds
Many Clouds will be honoured at the scene of his greatest triumph after Aintree revealed it is renaming the newly promoted Grade 2 chase on Becher Chase day in memory of the 2015 Grand National hero.
The 3m1f contest, which was won by the Oliver Sherwood-trained star chaser last December when it was a Listed race, will become the Many Clouds Chase, worth £50,000, and is one of a number of upgrades announced by the BHA's jump pattern committee on Monday.
Many Clouds, who collapsed and died shortly after defeating Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham last January, ran at Aintree eight times, more than any other course in his career.
He will be best remembered for his brilliant weight-carrying performance in the National when delivering owner Trevor Hemmings a record-equalling third win in the world's most famous race.
"Many Clouds loved racing at Aintree and to commemorate him permanently there with this race, which he won last year, is a fitting tribute to a wonderful horse," said Hemmings.
Sherwood added: "It is a great honour to have this race named after Many Clouds, it's a very nice touch.
"Ever since he died, there has been an amazing response from so many people – it has been unbelievable. The Jockey Club have planted a tree in Lambourn for him and I cannot thank everybody enough, especially Aintree."
Another race at Aintree has been upgraded with the 3m Betway Handicap Chase, which precedes the Randox Health Grand National, boosted to Grade 3 level from Listed.
The Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival has been promoted to a Grade 3 (from Listed) to bring it into line with the County Hurdle and Coral Cup, while the 2m4f novice chase at Chepstow's two-day jumps season opener fixture, which for many people signals the start of the winter campaign, is now a Listed race (from Class 2).
RACE UPGRADES FOR 2017-18
** totequadpot Novices' Chase (2m3½f; Chepstow in October) Listed from Class 2
** The Many Clouds Chase (3m1f; Aintree in December) Grade 2 from Listed
** Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (3m; Cheltenham Festival in March) Grade 3 from Listed
** Betway Handicap Chase (3m; Aintree in April) Grade 3 from Listed
Ruth Quinn, director of international racing and racing development at the BHA, said: "The jump pattern continues to demonstrate that it is in good health, particularly against the backdrop of the Pattern Committee having increased the rating parameters against which races are assessed.
"It made sense to bring the Pertemps Network Final and the Betway Chase into the Pattern at Grade 3, while the new Grade 2 at Aintree in December serves a useful purpose of bridging the gap between the Betfair Lancashire Chase and the 32Red King George VI."
There are also further developments in the mares' programme with three new Listed races for the 2017-18 season.
A Listed mares' bumper will be staged at Market Rasen in mid-January and two new Listed mares' chases over 3m will be scheduled, one for novices in mid-December at Newbury and another for older horses at Perth at the end of April.
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