Could season plans change with the new Chase Triple Crown bonus?
The Jockey Club have, on Tuesday, announced the decision that any horse winning the Betfair Chase, the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the upcoming season will be the recipient of a £1m bonus.
Such a feat hasn’t been achieved since the great Kauto Star bagged the hat-trick in 2007-08, and it is in his memory that the prize is being offered.
Paul Fisher, group managing director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said; “We want to encourage horses to attempt to win all three of our Chase Triple Crown races and forge a place in racing folklore reserved for only the very best.
“Hopefully the chance to win £1m over-and-above our prize money for the three races makes the Chase Triple Crown opportunity even more compelling for owners and trainers, supports jockeys and stable staff too, and will provide a great story to follow if the treble is on!” he continued.
“Kauto Star was a special racehourse and I’m delighted to announce this bonus is in his honour.”
In the last two years only Silviniaco Conti has taken in the three races in the series, while in 2012 no equine star attempted the feat.
Ladbrokes make it a 12/1 shot that any horse bags the bonus, but where could we see the challengers come from?
The big one on Boxing Day at Kempton was mooted as his early season target, where his ability to stay three miles would be put to the test, but plans must change if he is to bag the treble.
While Ascot was also considered to be on the horizon, a switch to Haydock could be on the cards to follow to give Willie Mullins his first runner in the race.
Another one that makes the Betfair Chase the weak-link in his pursuit, with trainer Gordon Elliot hinting that the King George and Gold Cup are on his agenda this term.
The Ryanair Chase third is entered in the JNWine Champion Chase at Down Royal, but that would give him time to make the trip to Merseyside as well after.
He stays three miles well, and could be the interesting candidate.
Last season’s Gold Cup winning novice could have plenty more to give this term, with the Gold Cup the obvious target.
He’s currently second favourite for the Hennessy Gold Cup, so plans would probably have to change if he were to go to Haydock, however as he represents a relatively small stable, the lure of a golden carrot could see them change tact.
He won the first two legs of this treble in last season, but the Gold Cup was the one that eluded him.
Trainer Paul Nicholls looks to have finally accepted that Cheltenham is perhaps not his track and suggested that a crack at the Grand National could be on the cards instead.
Again, it would be interesting to see whether he sticks to those plans were Conti to come good at Haydock and Kempton once again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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