Sched­ule switch while chiefs also end horses run­ning twice

Gloucestershire Echo - - BRAIN TEASER -

CHEL­TENHAM Race­course have made some al­ter­ations to the run­ning or­der on the first and last days of The Fes­ti­val next month.

They have also re­moved of the op­tion for any horse to be de­clared to run twice dur­ing the four-day event, staged from Tues­day, March 12 to Fri­day, March 15.

On Cham­pion Day (Tues­day, March 12), the sixth and sev­enth races will swap round, with the £70,000 Listed Close Broth­ers Novices’ Hand­i­cap Chase be­com­ing the sixth race on the card (4.50pm) and the £125,000 G2 Na­tional Hunt Chase now the sev­enth and fi­nal con­test at 5.30pm.

As the Na­tional Hunt Chase for novice chasers is re­stricted to am­a­teur rid­ers, this switch means that pro­fes­sional jockeys will be able to con­clude their day one race ear­lier.

Sim­i­larly, on Gold Cup Day (Fri­day, March 15), the £110,000 G3 Johnny Hen­der­son Grand An­nual Hand­i­cap Chase be­comes the sixth race at 4.50pm, with the £70,000 Mar­tin Pipe Con­di­tional Jockeys’ Hand­i­cap Hur­dle the sev­enth and fi­nal race at 5.30pm.

Thus, races open to se­nior pro­fes­sional jockeys will be con­cluded with the sixth race, which will help in the op­er­a­tion of the Weigh­ing Room and the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Lead­ing Jockey Award.

St Pa­trick’s Thurs­day (March 14) al­ready con­cludes with the Fulke Wal­wyn Kim Muir Hand­i­cap Chase for am­a­teur rid­ers, so the al­ter­na­tions mean that three of the four days of The Fes­ti­val now fin­ish with a race for ei­ther am­a­teur or con­di­tional jockeys.

From the 2019 Fes­ti­val on­wards, con­nec­tions will not be able to de­clare a

horse to run in any ra­cel if the same horse has al­ready been de­clared for an­other race or has al­ready com­peted over the four days.

This de­vel­op­ment is an ex­ten­sion of the change in­tro­duced in 2016, which pre­vented horses from be­ing de­clared to run in any of the 10 Fes­ti­val hand­i­caps if they had al­ready been de­clared for an­other Fes­ti­val hand­i­cap yet to take place.

With all races at The Fes­ti­val hav­ing 48-hour dec­la­ra­tion stages, the chance

of horses ap­pear­ing twice be­came very slim and the change defini­tively rules out the pos­si­bil­ity of horses run­ning twice over the four days.

Race­course chiefs be­lieve this change will pro­vide greater cer­tainty as to the horses run­ning in all of the 28 Fes­ti­val races for race­go­ers, me­dia, the of­f­course bet­ting mar­ket and the in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence, and that the move is also ap­pro­pri­ate given its com­mit­ment to the high­est stan­dards of equine wel­fare.

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