Cheltenham Festival prize-money boosted to record £4.3 million
There will be record prize-money up for grabs at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival after an increase of £190,000 was announced on Thursday to take total prizes to £4,305,000 for the four-day fixture.
One of the biggest increases is in the Racing Post Arkle, with prize-money jumping by £25,000 to £175,000. The RSA Chase has been boosted by the same amount.
The National Hunt Chase, which has been named in honour of four-time Festival-winning jockey JT McNamara, is worth £120,000 this year, up £20,000 on last season's prize fund. It will also be run as a Grade 2 for the first time having previously been a Listed race.
A total of 18 races have received a cash injection of £5,000, including the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle, which, for the first time since 1995, will not have legendary trainer Vincent O'Brien's name in the title.
It is the first time that Randox Health, whose five-year backing of the Grand National starts this season, have sponsored a race at the Cheltenham Festival.
The only festival races that will not receive an increase in prize-money are the five most valuable contests - 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 on offer during the festival, which takes place this year between Tuesday, March 14 and Friday, March 17 is £45,000 for the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase.
Ian Renton, Jockey Club Racecourses regional director for Cheltenham & the South West, said: "I'm delighted to announce record prize-money of over £4.3 million for the festival which represents an increase of more than ten per cent 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."
How prize-money compares to last year
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (G1) £125,000 (from £120,000 in 2016)
Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (G1) £175,000 (£150,000)
Ultima Handicap Chase (G3) £105,000 (£100,000)
Stan James Champion Hurdle (G1) £400,000 (£400,000)
OLBG Mares' Hurdle (G1) £110,000 (£100,000)
J T McNamara National Hunt Novices' Chase (G2) £120,000 (£100,000)
Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) £70,000 (£65,000)
Wednesday, March 15
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (G1) £125,000 (£120,000)
RSA Novices' Chase (G1) £175,000 (£150,000)
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Race (G3) £95,000 (£90,000)
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (G1) £350,000 (£350,000)
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase £65,000 (£60,000)
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (G3) £80,000 (£75,000)
Weatherbys Champion Bumper (National Hunt Flat Race) (G1) £75,000 (£70,000)
Thursday, March 16, 2017
JLT Novices' Chase (G1) £150,000 (£130,000)
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Listed) £95,000 (£90,000)
Ryanair Chase (G1) £300,000 (£300,000)
Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (G1) £300,000 (£300,000)
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (G3) £105,000 (£100,000)
Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (G2) £80,000 (£75,000)
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (amateurs) £70,000 (£65,000)
Friday, March 17, 2017
JCB Triumph Hurdle (G1) £125,000 (£120,000)
Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (G3) £95,000 (£90,000)
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (G1) £125,000 (£120,000)
Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (G1) £575,000 (£575,000)
St James's Place Foxhunter Chase £45,000 (£40,000)
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-145) £65,000 (£60,000)
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (G3) £105,000 (£100,000)