Clarence House Chase switched to Cheltenham

The British Horseracing Authority has announced that the Clarence House Chase has been rescheduled for Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day meeting next weekend.

Just like 12 months ago, Ascot’s card on Saturday was frozen off but the Grade One highlight has been saved.

It was due to feature a heavyweight clash between Jonbon and El Fabiolo, but with the BHA confirming the race will be run for £105,00, a reduction in prize-money of £70,000, it appears El Fabiolo will stay closer to home

Simon Munir, who owns El Fabiolo along with Isaac Souede, told “Unfortunately, with Ascot cancelled due to the weather, the rearranged Clarence House will most probably take place next week on January 27.

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El Fabiolo (left) and Jonbon in action as novice hurdlers at Aintree
El Fabiolo (left) and Jonbon in action as novice hurdlers at Aintree (Steven Paston/PA)

“We have decided that El Fabiolo could run at the Dublin Racing Festival on February 4 without the need to travel over to England.”

The Clarence House has been called off three times in the last 11 years due to the weather, with Sprinter Sacre (2013), Un De Sceaux (2017) and Editeur Du Gite (2023) triumphing in rearranged contests at Cheltenham.

Jonbon is likely to be there, with his trainer Nicky Henderson telling ITV Racing before the announcement: “We had discussions yesterday which happened very quickly when Ascot was administered the last rites, one might say, before 4pm.

“We’re very keen to go there. We’re very keen to run, when you have a horse ready for this Saturday, you couldn’t afford not to be near a big peak.

“I was genuinely looking forward to the race on Saturday and it’s sad that it is not going to happen. Whether it might happen next weekend now, I don’t know.

“It looks like there will be a reduction in prize money, but we intend to be there.

“This was going to be a great clash at Ascot. Both teams were well prepped. We were quite bullish, now we’ve got to wait another week when a lot of things could go wrong. One week won’t make a difference but two weeks probably would, as we want to build him back up for March.”

Editeur Du Gite won last year's rescheduled Clarence House at Cheltenham
Editeur Du Gite won last year’s rescheduled Clarence House at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

New entries will need to be made for the race before noon on Monday.

Other races that have been saved following the recent spate of abandonments are the Grade Two Mares Warfield Hurdle (from Ascot) and the Grade Two Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (from Haydock), which will both now be staged at Doncaster next weekend, the Warfield on Sunday and the Rossington Main on Saturday.

Henderson commented on X, formerly known as Twitter: “I would like to say how pleased we are that the Clarence House Chase, the Rossington Main Novice Hurdle and the Warfield Mares Hurdle are all being rescheduled for next week.

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“All of these races are very important for our programmes and we would like to thank the BHA for their support in rescheduling under difficult financial and climate circumstances.”

The Listed Alan Swinbank Mares Bumper is being rescheduled for the next Market Rasen fixture on Tuesday, February 6.

Tom Byrne, BHA head of racing and betting, said: “When rescheduling, there are often questions regarding the reduced prize-money values the races are subsequently run for.

“Where a race is added to a pre-existing card at a different racecourse, there are usually significant challenges for that new venue, including the limited time to secure sponsorship support, changing ITV coverage and existing prize-money commitments.

“Therefore, a combination of additional Levy Board and BHA prize-money funds are utilised to support the Racecourse Executive contribution and entry fees to run these races at as high a value as possible. This is usually below the original value due to the limited nature of those additional central funds.”

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