Ten of 23 entries for £100,000 Ayr novice handicap chase unqualified
Ten of the 23 original entries for Ayr's 3m novice handicap chase on Saturday – which included horses trained by Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Jonjo O'Neill – are not qualified, with the conditions of the £100,000 race having caught several trainers unaware.
Asked to explain the unusually high number of unqualified entries, BHA racing operations manager Stuart Middleton said: “Following a review of novice chases in 2017, one of the aims was to create a valuable end-of-season target for novices that may not have run at the major spring festivals.
£100,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+ which have finished in the first eight on at least two occasions in any weight-for-age chase in Great Britain during the current season. Minimum weights: 10-0; Penalties after April 6th, each chase won 6lb
"Additionally, it was the intent that this would serve to boost field sizes throughout the season in weight-for-age novice chases.
"As a result, £50,000 of funding was offered from the BHA Development Fund in order to boost the value of the race to £100,000 for the 2018 renewal. At the outset a two-year plan was put in place with regards to the entry conditions.
"Last year's race saw the entry qualification stipulating runners would need to finish in the first eight in a weight-for-age chase on one occasion that season with the requirement rising to two runs in the first eight for the 2019 renewal.
“All race conditions are printed in the programme book and the racing calendar, as well as being available on the racing admin site. A reminder text was sent in January to ensure connections were aware of the change in conditions, as well as an email to the National Trainers Federation for their newsletter."
He added: "Whilst the size of the field is a little disappointing, the qualified entries still mean that it looks like a really competitive race and one which we'll continue to support.”
Kim Muir runner-up Kilfilum Cross heads the market for the race at a general 4-1.
Did you know you can bet via the Racing Post mobile app/website? Simply sign in with your favourite bookmaker via the Accounts button and then bet direct from our racecards