Great riches on offer

DONCASTER’S principal meeting over Jumps, the two-day Sky Bet Chase Meeting on Friday and Saturday (January 28 and 29), features the richest race of the Jumping season on Town Moor – Saturday’s The Sky Bet Chase – which offers prizemoney of £75,000. This major race is complemented by a trio of Grade 2 races on Saturday afternoon, along with a valuable handicap chase taking the amount of prize money on offer during the day to over £200,000.

The Sky Bet Chase is a Handicap and Listed race over three miles and was first held at Doncaster in 1948 as The Great Yorkshire Chase. A quality turnout is expected for Saturday’s renewal, including potential Cheltenham Festival and Grand National contenders. Highly-rated chaser, Calgary Bay (set to participate in the Grand National) is a likely contender for Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer, Henrietta Knight, while Fistral Beach, successful at Wincanton earlier this month for the champion trainer, Paul Nicholls and recent Newbury winner, West End Rocker could also take part in Saturday’s big race.

Saturday’s seven-race programme starts at 12.40pm with The crownhotel-bawtry.com Handicap Hurdle. The chief supporting Grade 2 races are The skybet.com Doncaster Mares’ Hurdle (a £30,000 race over the extended two miles), The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (a £25,000 race for staying hurdlers over the extended three miles historically known as the River Don Novices’ Hurdle) and a new addition to the racing programme at Doncaster, The skypoker.com Lightning Novices’ Chase (a contest over the extended two miles with prize money of £25,000).

The £40,000 skyvegas.com Handicap Chase over the extended two miles is also featured on Saturday, as Sky Bet, one of the UK’s leading horseracing, gaming and sports betting companies sponsor at this meeting for the ninth year, supporting races on both days.

The action on Friday is scheduled to begin at 1.20pm, with The Pegler Yorkshire Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Other highlights are The Simpson Miller Novices’ Handicap Chase, The R A Beevers Handicap Chase, while The European Breeders’ Fund and Sheffield Insulations combine to support a race for Novice Hurdlers - a qualifying contest in a national series under the auspices of the EBF, which culminates in a Final at Sandown Park in March.

The next meeting over Jumps at Doncaster is on Wednesday, February 23, followed by the two-day Grimthorpe Chase Meeting on Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, which also features a special Cheltenham Festival preview after racing on Saturday by a panel of racing experts. For more details visit www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk

* Tickets are on sale for the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival in September. They are also available online, including the specially-discounted ‘Early Bird’ deal for Ladies Day on Thursday, September 8. Grandstand tickets for this day are discounted by £5 to just £20 if booked by May 31.