07.01.13 - THE GRAND NATIONAL
New record prize money at John Smith's Grand National meeting
NEW RECORD PRIZE MONEY AT JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL MEETING
BIG HURDLE SWITCH TO AUGMENT OPENING DAY
Total prize money for the 2013 John Smith's Grand National meeting at Aintree sets a new record at £2,725,000, which represents an increase of £185,000 (+7.3 per cent) for the three days over 2012.
Thirteen of the 21 races at the meeting from Thursday to Saturday, April 4-6, have boosted prize money.
The John Smith's Grand National is worth £975,000 again, with an estimated purse to the winner of nearly £550,000 and prize money down to 10th place. It is the richest British jump race by far and has risen in value from £600,000 under John Smith's sponsorship.
In line with the Jockey Club Racecourses' prize money pledge, Aintree's total prize money for 2013 has increased to £3,386,500 (from £3,106,000), with new funds injected throughout the year for Aintree's five other racedays as well the John Smith's Grand National meeting.
AINTREE HURDLE SWITCHES TO THURSDAY
Nicky Henderson has made no secret that his high-class hurdler Oscar Whisky's prime target this season is a repeat win in the Grade One John Smith's Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles, in which Monksfield, Dawn Run, Morley Street, Aonoch, Istabraq and Al Eile have also been successful.
Oscar Whisky will be racing two days earlier this year as the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle has been switched to first day of the meeting on Thursday, April 4 and the prize fund raised by £40,000 to a record £200,000.
The Grade One three-mile John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle (£120,000 - an increase of £20,000) will move from being the opening race at the meeting to the third race on the Saturday.
"We are confident that this switch will greatly strengthen Thursday's card and thereby provide a big additional star attraction on the opening day," said Aintree's Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch.
"It is a formidable day's racing with the Grade One Betfred Bowl, the Grade One Matalan Anniversary 4-Year-Old Hurdle and the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences also on the Thursday card.
"Prize money for the Thursday is £695,000, up £130,000 on last year, and we are putting a lot of effort into increasing the attendance towards the very high levels seen on the other two days."
JOHN SMITH'S MELLING CHASE BOOSTED TO £200,000
As always, Friday's Ladies' Day highlight is the Grade One John Smith's Melling Chase, which enjoys increased prize money of £200,000, up £25,000 on 2012.
This race, run over two and a half miles of the Mildmay course, attracts the very best horses at the trip, with Moscow Flyer, Monet's Garden, Voy Por Ustedes and Master Minded among the greats on the roll of honour.
Another major attraction on the Friday is the John Smith's Topham Chase over the Grand National fences. The Topham's prize money jumps from £100,000 to £120,000 and total prize money for the day totals £635,000 (£565,000 in 2012).
Jockey Club Racecourses' Regional Director John Baker commented: "Aintree and John Smith's felt it was important to increase prize money across the board during the three days of the 2013 John Smith's Grand National meeting.
"The John Smith's Melling Chase and the John Smith's Topham Chase are prime examples of this policy and 13 of the 21 races enjoy higher prize money this year."
JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL - CLOSING DATE
The closing date for entries to the 2013 John Smith's Grand National is noon on Tuesday, January 29, with the eagerly-anticipated handicap weights due to be unveiled on Tuesday, February 12. The two scratchings' stages are on February 26 and March 19.
There are no changes to the race conditions, with a rating of 120 a minimum requirement for the horses and riders must have won 15 or more times in chases and hurdles, with at least 10 of those successes being over fences.
Total prize money for the Saturday, John Smith's Grand National Day, is £1,395,000.
Baker reports excellent advance sales, both of corporate facilities and raceday tickets.
He said: "Things have moved really fast since mid-December. We have experienced a real surge in demand for both corporate facilities and admission tickets.
"Now is the time to secure a place in the premier enclosures so please ring 0844 579 3001 (tickets) or 0151 522 2911 (hospitality) or visit our web site, www.aintree.co.uk ."
A full prize money schedule, including the interim order of running, for the 2013 John Smith's Grand National meeting can by found by clicking here.
Further information, please contact:
John Baker email@example.com
Nigel Payne, Aintree's Press Officer,