Former Grand National winner Many Clouds is to have the race he won last December renamed after him, as the British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s Jump Pattern Committee announced a number of upgrades to British Jump Pattern and Listed races for the 2017/18 season.
Aintree’s Listed Chase over 3m1f in December, won last year by Many Clouds, is being re-named in honour of the 2016 Randox Health Grand National winner and has been upgraded from Listed to Grade 2.
John Baker, Regional North West Director of the Jockey Club, said: “We’re delighted and honoured to re-name Aintree’s Listed Chase, The Many Clouds Chase, in honour of the 2015 Grand National hero and, as many people described, the people’s horse.
“I’d like to extend our gratitude to Trevor Hemmings, Oliver Sherwood and his team for allowing us to do so.”
A further race run at Aintree racecourse is set to be upgraded into the Pattern, with the three mile Betway Handicap Chase which precedes the Randox Health Grand National receiving an upgrade from Listed to Grade 3.
Chepstow have received a boost to their two day Totepool Jump Season Opener as the Class 2 totequadpot Novices’ Chase run over two-and-a-half miles on the opening day has been given Listed status, whilst the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival has been upgraded from Listed to Grade 3, bringing it into line with the County Hurdle and Coral Cup.
All races are considered in detail by the BHA’s Jump Pattern Committee. The races set to receive a change to their status for the 2017/18 season are listed below:
Richard Norris, Group Racing Director of The Jockey Club, said: “We are delighted that The Many Clouds Chase on Becher Chase day has been upgraded to Grade 2 status – in keeping with its illustrious list of winners, including Don Poli and the legendary Many Clouds most recently.
“We are also thrilled that both the Pertemps Network Final and Betway Handicap Chase have been upgraded to Grade 3.
“This is an endorsement of their status among the best handicaps of the season and integral parts of The Festival and the Randox Health Grand National Festival respectively.”
Jon Pullin, Racing Director at Arena Racing Company, said: “Now in its third year, Chepstow’s Jump Season Opener marks the start of the winter jumps season and we are delighted it will be further strengthened by the upgrading of the Novice Chase to a Listed contest.
“The race already has a strong record of attracting leading national hunt horses, including Cue Card, Fingal Bay, Silviniaco Conti and Native River, and we hope this will continue in the years ahead.”
Ian Renton, Regional South West Director of The Jockey Club, added: “The Pertemps Network Final, staged on the third day of The Festival in March, has received a deserved upgrade to Grade 3 status.
“The three-mile handicap hurdle is ultra-competitive and there have been at least 22 runners for each renewal over the last 35 years, while Pertemps Network, the backer since 2002, is a most loyal and valued supporter of the Final and its qualifying races.”
There is further progress on the plans to boost the programme for mares too, with three new Listed opportunities for the 2017/18 season.
A new Listed mares’ bumper will now be staged at Market Rasen in mid-January, between existing ones at Huntingdon in early December and Sandown in mid-March, and two new Listed mares’ Chases over three miles will be scheduled, one for novices in mid-December at Newbury and another for older horses at Perth at the end of April.
Richard Norris, Group Racing Director of The Jockey Club, said: “Staging the Mares’ National Hunt Flat race in January at Market Rasen also further strengthens our commitment to supporting the industry strategy of expanding the Mares programme.”
Andy Clifton, Head of Communications at Newbury Racecourse, said: “We are really pleased to be staging a Listed Mares’ Novices’ Chase in December, one of three excellent opportunities for Mares in the first part of our jumps season, and I am delighted that the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association has agreed to support this exciting new race.”
Hazel Peplinski, Chief Executive of Perth Racecourse, said: “I’m thrilled. To secure a second Listed race for our Perth April Festival so quickly after our first is very exciting news. We are working with the BHA to enhance the quality of our Festival programme and this new three mile mares’ chase shall offer a niche opportunity for Owners and Trainers to target with their Listed class staying mares – another good reason to head for Perth!”
The Pattern Committee has reviewed the latest data pertaining to mares and compiled by the BHA’s Racing Department.
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, whilst 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. The new Listed Novice Chase for Chepstow surpasses the required parameter by some way and it should provide an attractive Black Type opportunity at the start of the core season, with ground conditions at Chepstow usually being conducive to a decent field size. It will also offer a quality option for improving horses who had won at the tail-end of the previous season and who will remain novices until the end of October.
“The three new mares’ Listed races represent the next tranche of development in the mares’ Black Type programme, continuing our efforts of encouraging a greater number of quality mares to be put into training and campaigned ambitiously over Jumps. It remains a long-term project to develop growth in this area of the horse population, providing greater encouragement for mares to be able to develop to the best of their ability before perhaps becoming broodmares, and we are now starting to see some impact on breeders’ and buyers’ behaviour. Naturally, positive change will not be delivered overnight and tangible success may not become apparent for a number of years. While aspirations need to be realistic, the latest set of data indicates modest growth in some areas. Mares currently represent just 20% of the number of Jump horses in training, and whilst this figure is unlikely to ever get anywhere close to being 50%, for any number of reasons, if the 20% could become 25%, or over time 30%, then that would make the project extremely worthwhile and this should, to our mind, be viewed as a sensible long-term target. It is worth noting that there are some positive signs in terms of the overall quality of the mares, and around activity at the sales and the prices that mares are now fetching.”