Three of the biggest races in the jump racing calendar – the Betfair Chase, the 32Red King George VI Chase and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup – will form part of the £1 million Triple Crown bonus after Jockey Club Racecourses announced their continued support earlier this week.
The 2016/17 National Hunt season will get rolling proper at the end of next month with the first of the Triple Crown races – the 3m Betfair Chase – coming towards the end of November at Haydock Park.
Last year the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card took the showpiece before going onto land the second leg, the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day when getting up in a thrilling finish to beat Rich Ricci’s Vautour.
A fall three out when travelling well alongside winner Don Cossack in the third leg, the Gold Cup, saw the chance of the ten-year-old gelding completing the treble go up in flames.
The last horse to complete the same treble was five-time King George VI winner Kauto Star in the 2006-2007 season. He did so when the money was put up by Betfair who discontinued their investment after two seasons.
“We’d love a special horse to capture the public’s imagination and take their place in racing folklore by winning the Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown,” said Paul Fisher, group managing director of JCR.
“It was fantastic to hear people label last season’s bonus contender, Cue Card, as ‘the people’s horse’ and we look forward to the challenge of going one better being considered for the finest staying chasers racing today. It would be tremendous for our sport.”
In terms of the breakdown, owners will receive 65 per cent of the £1 million pot while trainers will take 15 per cent.
We’d love a special horse to capture the public’s imagination
The jockey will take a ten per cent cut while stable staff will collect the remaining ten per cent.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: “Kauto Star winning the Betfair Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season really cemented his legend among the public.
“You’ve got to be a special horse but he showed it could be done and it’s great for jump racing that the Jockey Club is putting up this bonus challenge.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies who won the Gold Cup in 2010 with Imperial Commander said: “Well done to JCR for bringing the bonus back for this season. It’s important for jump racing to have these big prizes to aim at and we saw all the interest Cue Card’s effort brought for the sport last year.”