£1 million prize money bonus on offer this season
|October 16, 2015 02:03:18 PM|
The long wait for the 2015/16 jumps season is finally here as attention now turns to the national hunt raiders who will be back again looking to have success in their respective divisions.
All roads lead to the Cheltenham Festival in jumps racing, however, there are some huge races on the calendar each year including the Hennessy Gold Cup, King George VI Chase and the Grand National 2016.
There is an extra incentive for owners this year because if any horse wins the Betfair Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season, they will pick up an extra £1 million in prize money.
The last time this was done was in the 2006/07 season when Kauto Star was successful in those three races. He nearly repeated that feat the following year but for unseating his jockey Sam Thomas in the Haydock contest.
Here are some of the leading contenders who will be chasing that prize:-
Willie Mullins' runner made a seamless transition to chasing last season to take the JLT Novices' Chase at the Festival in March. He won that contest by 15 lengths after going off the 6/4 favourite.
Vautour will step out of novice company this season and on paper looks to be Mullins' best chance of winning the blue riband event at the Festival, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The French import has been successful in the last two Festivals as he won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2014. He is still relatively inexperienced over fences, however, his trainer obviously rates him very highly amongst his talented crop of horses.
Despite only finishing third in the Ryanair Chase last season, Gordon Elliott's runner responded really well to take the Melling Chase at the Grand National meeting at Aintree and then a couple of weeks later the Punchestown Gold Cup at the Festival in Ireland. He won both of those races in spectacular style to establish himself as one of the leading contenders in the 3m chase division this season.
Connections were probably likely to keep him in Ireland before Cheltenham in March. However, this new bonus incentive may just tempt them to run their horse at Haydock next month and, if successful, return a month later for the Kempton showpiece contest on Boxing Day.
Last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree will be back to defend his crown this season no doubt. He went into the race last season as a 7/1 shot so he was not heading the market but was one of the five leading contenders to come out on top in the most prestigious race of them all over fences.
Coneygree did run on King George Day at Kempton in 2014 as he landed the Kauto Star Novices' Chase so it does seem likely he will be at the same track once again on Boxing Day.
The seven-year-old has yet to taste defeat over fences as he is four from four over the bigger obstacles in his career.