Prize money at the Cheltenham Festival in March will exceed £4million for the first time.
An increase in value to the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup to £575,000 had already been announced and there are also bigger purses on offer in the National Hunt Chase (£100,000), the JLT Novices’ Chase (£130,000) and the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (£70,000).
Nine of the 10 handicaps at the Festival will also be more valuable.
Simon Claisse, regional director of racing, Jockey Club Racecourses South West, and clerk of the course at Cheltenham, said: “Cheltenham is delighted to offer record prize-money of over £4million at the Festival in 2016.
“We continually strive to provide the very best experience for everyone involved with jump racing and, with these prize-money increases, along with the recent investment in the owners’ and trainers’ facilities and the new owners’ and trainers’ bar in the Princess Royal Stand, we are proud of what we offer.”
Meanwhile, Barye showed 12 furlongs is well within his compass when winning at Lingfield before Christmas and he can complete a course-and-distance double in the Coral Handicap.
The five-year-old had previously scored three times over 10 furlongs for David Simcock, but now in the care of Richard Hughes, the former champion jockey turned trainer was quick to switch it up.
Hughes obviously took great heart from his initial start for his team when Barye claimed second over a mile and three furlongs at Kempton at the beginning of last month, on what was his first start for three months.
Barye was swiftly tried over a mile and a half and he rose to the challenge as he led a furlong from home and kept on all the way to the line for a two-length victory. The handicapper was clearly impressed as Barye has been hiked 5lb in the ratings, but he remains relatively unexposed and one to follow at this distance.
Jammy Guest was only narrowly denied earlier in the week and he makes plenty of appeal in the unibet.co.uk Daily Enhanced Place Terms Handicap. The six-year-old needs things to fall right and has just one win in 25 starts, but that is not a true reflection of his ability and he has been rated as highly as 96 in the past. While that sort of perch was clearly beyond him, his current rating of 70 makes him an interesting contender as he turns out quickly before being reassessed for his head defeat.
Regina Cordium is an obvious shout as she makes her debut in the opening 32Red.com Maiden Stakes.
This daughter of Raven’s Pass comes from a family very familiar to trainer John Gosden as she counts Group Two winner Gertrude Bell, Listed winner Dick Doughtywylie and Listed placed Gertrude Versed among her half-siblings.
None of those runners was particularly forward at two, so it makes sense that Regina Cordium is only making her debut now.
Jebediah Shine has a decent rate of return having won six of her 19 starts and she can further enhance those statistics in the Download The New Unibet Racing App Handicap at Wolverhampton. The four-year-old signed off 2015 with victory at Kempton last month, triumphing off her highest-ever mark of 82 with a touch still in hand. David O’Meara’s charge has been raised a further 3lb by the handicapper but can defy the extra burden.
Lovely Job should do well in the Trueman Family Novices’ Handicap Chase at Doncaster.
The six-year-old, trained by Fergal O’Brien, made a nice start to life over fences at Leicester on his first outing for the Naunton handler.
Lovely Job jumped well in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase, finishing second behind the useful Bekkensfirth – with the third horse home some 14 lengths in arrears.
A combination of stepping up to three miles and more testing conditions should do the trick in what is an inferior race than at Leicester.
12:45 Legal Exit
1:20 Donna’s Pride
2:25 Lovely Job
3:00 Baoulet Delaroque
3:30 Caged Lightning
1:05 Regina Cordium (nap)
1:35 Scot Daddy
2:10 Rat Catcher
3:15 Jammy Guest
3:50 Saint Honore
4:45 Le Notre
5:15 Rupert Boy
6:15 Jebediah Shine
6:45 Goodwood Moonlight
1:05 Lingfield Barye