Cheltenham announces changes to 2014 Festival running order

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Cheltenham Racecourse today announced changes to the order of running for the first two days of The Festival in 2014.

On the opening day, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 11,  the Grade Two OLBG Mares’ Hurdle moves to become the fifth race (previously sixth) on the card at 4.00pm, immediately following the Grade One Stan James Champion Hurdle (3.20pm).

This will enable the race, run over two and a half miles, to be shown live on Channel 4 Racing, giving terrestrial viewers the chance to see history being made if the remarkable Quevega records a sixth straight victory in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. The OLBG Mares’ Road to Cheltenham currently consists of five mares’ hurdle races, the highlight race being the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at The Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare currently shares the record of five consecutive successes at The Festival in the same race with Golden Miller, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup every year between 1932 and 1936.

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase, previously scheduled as the fifth contest on the Tuesday (postponed to the Thursday in 2013 because of frost), switches to the same slot on the Wednesday, Ladies Day, March 12, 2014.

The National Hunt Chase, which opened proceedings on the Wednesday in 2013, moves to Champion Day, Tuesday, March 11 as the sixth race in 2014.

The programme on Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, now starts with the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30pm, with the fifth race that day this year, the Coral Cup, moving forward to be the third contest.

Simon Claisse, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course for Cheltenham, commented: “The changes introduced to the order of running for The Festival have meant that the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle is now positioned so it is part of the Channel 4 Racing programme on the opening day.

“I very much hope that we might see Quevega return to Cheltenham to attempt to win the race for a sixth time, which would be such an amazing achievement.

“Cheltenham has been working on supporting the mares’ pattern races over the season for a few years now and by bringing the mares’ race onto terrestrial TV this allows further exposure for this category of races. We have also introduced a new mares’ bumper which took place on The Open Saturday and was won by The Govaness.”

The revised order of running is as follows:

THE FESTIVAL 2014

Champion Day – Tuesday, March 11 (Old Course)

Time  Race       Distance  Prize Money

* 1.30pm  Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle    2m ½f   £120,000

* 2.05pm Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase  2m   £150,000

* 2.40pm JLT Specialty Handicap Chase   3m ½f   £90,000

* 3.20pm Stan James Champion Hurdle   2m ½f   £400,000

* 4.00pm OLBG Mares’ Hurdle     2m 4f   £85,000

4.40pm National Hunt Chase     4m   £85,000

5.15pm     Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase  2m 4½f  £60,000

 

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 12 (Old Course)

Time  Race       Distance  Prize Money

* 1.30pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f     £120,000

* 2.05pm RSA Chase      3m ½f   £150,000

* 2.40pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle    2m 5f   £80,000

* 3.20pm BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase  2m   £350,000

* 4.00pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase  3m 7f     £45,000

4.40pm Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle  2m ½f     £75,000

5.15pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper   2m ½f     £60,000

 

Thursday and Friday’s running orders remain the same.

 

* Channel 4 Televised Races

 

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