Cheltenham’s new season gets underway in 15 days’ time with The Showcase taking place on Friday and Saturday, October 26 and 27.
The Showcase offers record prize money of £370,400 across the two days – a boost of £51,400 (16 per cent) on the £319,000 in 2017. The increase is part of the £8-million cash injection announced by The Jockey Club in December of last year.
In total, there is an extra £100,000 in prize money on offer at the Home of Jump Racing between October and December this year. The prize money increases mean that no race at Cheltenham for professional jockeys is now worth less than £15,000.
The biggest boosts at The Showcase apply to the two Randox Health-sponsored handicap chases run on Saturday, October 26.
The two contests (one run over two miles and the other over three miles and a furlong) both have a total prize fund of £60,000 (up from £50,000 in 2017).
The details of the increases at The November Meeting (Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18 inclusive) and The International (Friday and Saturday, December 14 and 15) will be announced closer to the time.
Another change for the new season is that prize money for all Cheltenham races will now extend to the first eight horses home, as opposed to the first six as was previously the case.
Prize money will now be distributed on following basis:
1st 61.9 per cent
2nd 18.4 per cent
3rd 9.2 percent
4th 4.6 per cent
5th 2.3 per cent
6th 1.2 per cent
7th 0.6 per cent
8th 0.3 percent
An exciting innovation across The Jockey Club Cheltenham & the South West Region for the 2018/19 season is more races for graduates of pony racing. They will now happen at all four of the courses in the region – Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton – during the winter and spring of the 2018/19 campaign.
These races will be sponsored by Winner Events and culminate in a final at The April Meeting at Cheltenham in 2019.
Pony racing has gone from strength to strength since the establishment of The Pony Racing Authority in 2007 and has provided a valuable education for many professional and amateur jockeys.
In 2017, 185 jockeys holding a BHA licence to ride or a Rider Certificate started out in pony racing. These jockeys have come from a variety of backgrounds, including those from racing, those with the wider equestrian world and those with no links to racing or equestrianism.
Pony racing graduate James Bowen was crowned Stobart Champion Conditional Jockey during the 2017/18 campaign, while five of the top 10 conditional jockeys last season all began their careers in Pony Racing.
In addition, three of the top 10 riders in the 2017/18 Stobart Jump Jockeys Championship were pony racing graduates – Sam Twiston-Davies, Sean Bowen and Harry Cobden.
Clarissa Daly, Chief Executive, Pony Racing Authority, said: “I am delighted that The Jockey Club South West Region is to host a total of four pony racing graduate races over the course of this season.
“The previous race at Cheltenham has always been really well-supported by our graduates and I am sure the whole series will continue to be.