Almost £300,000 up for grabs at Warwick's richest meeting of the season
With nearly £300,000 in prize money on offer, Saturday’s Wigley Group Classic Chase Day will be the richest meeting to be run at Warwick this season, writes David Hucker.
The feature is the £100,000 Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) over the marathon trip of three miles and five furlongs.
First won by Princess Camilla in 1973, this year’s race will have the added attraction of a bonus, offered by the sponsors, of £100,000 if the winner goes on to success in the Randox Grand National at Aintree, a feat last achieved by the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur in 2017.
Leading trainers Alan King and Emma Lavelle have both been successful twice in the race in the last ten years. King has entered Notachance, winner of the race two years ago and now racing from a 9lb lower mark, while Lavelle could rely on Wouldubewell.
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, who has 15 entries in all at the meeting, has two in the race, while Willie Mullins has one in the shape of Mr Incredible.
Guetapan Collonges, trained by Charlie Longsdon at Chipping Norton, is among those that head the early betting.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who passed the 100-winner mark for the season at Taunton on Monday before leaving for his annual holiday, has entered course winner Stage Star and Complete Unknown in the Grade 2 eventmasters.co.uk Hampton Novices’ Chase and either would set the standard for the others to beat.
Also a Grade 2 contest is the Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs in which Nicholls has entered dual hurdle winner Knowsley Road. Dan Skelton could be represented by Exeter and Kempton Park winner Grey Dawning, but past course winner Ginny’s Destiny could be the each-way value.
The action gets under way at 12.40pm with the Mark Jackson & Neil Keenan Memorial Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, followed by the Class 2 Wigley Support Fund Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase.
The card is completed by the Class 2 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) and the Wigley Community Fund “Newcomers” National Hunt Flat Race.