Enhancements made to the 2016/17 Irish NH Pattern race programme

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) today announced a number of enhancements to the Irish National Hunt Pattern race programme for the 2016/17 season in addition to the improvements to the Mares National Hunt Pattern previously released.

Following a strategic review by HRI’s National Hunt Pattern Committee comprising representatives of all sectors of the industry, it was agreed to upgrade 12 Handicaps (with one being deleted from the Pattern), whilst at the same time downgrading 12 Weight-For-Age races.

From 1st January, 2017 there will only be two categories of National Hunt Black Type Handicaps, Grade A and Grade B, with all Grade C races either being promoted to Grade B or being deleted from the Pattern if their upgrading is not merited based upon the historical ratings of the races. Having two categories, with minimum values of €100,000 and €50,000 respectively, will mirror the situation with Premier Handicaps on the Flat.

The 2m Handicap Hurdles at both Fairyhouse’s Winter and Easter Festivals will be promoted to Grade A in recognition of the high historical quality of these contests, bringing the total number of €100,000+ Handicap Hurdles to five during the season. The Leinster National provides a well-located opportunity for three-mile chasers and will be the first Grade A Handicap to be staged at Naas. Additionally, nine Grade C Handicaps have been promoted to Grade B status, which will significantly enhance the number of opportunities for smaller owners and trainers to compete for sizeable pots throughout the season, with these races now being worth at least €50,000.

At the same time, it has been agreed to strategically downgrade 12 Black Type Weight-For-Age (WFA) races, 10 from Grade 2 to Grade 3, and two races from Grade 3 to Listed, in an attempt to provide a more balanced overall shape to the Pattern and to improve competitiveness. These downgraded races will all retain their previous prize-money values, but the lower grades and the resultant penalty structure changes will hopefully encourage more horses to participate in these contests, thereby increasing field sizes and competitiveness. Overall, there will now be 34 Grade 1 WFA races (as in 2015/16), 30 Grade 2 races (down from 40), 38 Grade 3 races (up from 28) and 19 Listed races (up from 14).

A full list of the latest National Hunt Pattern race changes is provided below:

Upgraded from Grade B to A

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
4th Dec 2016 Fairyhouse New Stand 2m Handicap Hurdle
12th Mar 2017 Naas Leinster National 3m Handicap Chase
18th Apr 2017 Fairyhouse Glasscarn 2m Handicap Hurdle

 
Upgraded from Grade C to B

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
20th Aug 2016 Killarney Lough Leane 2½m Handicap Chase
27th Nov 2016 Navan Proudstown 2m 7f Handicap Hurdle
3rd Dec 2016 Fairyhouse Porterstown 3m5f Handicap Chase
10th Dec 2016 Navan Foxrock 2½m Handicap Chase
5th Feb 2017 Punchestown National Trial 3½m Handicap Chase
19th Mar 2017 Navan EBF Novice Series Final 3m Novice Handicap Chase
16th Apr 2017 Cork Easter 2m 3f Handicap Hurdle
27th April 2017 Punchestown Ballymore 3m Handicap Hurdle
28th April 2017 Punchestown Glencarraig Lady EBF 2m 5f Mares Handicap Chase

Downgraded from Black Type (Grade C) status

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
 20th Nov 2016 Cork Blackwater 2½m Handicap Hurdle

Downgraded from Grade 2 to Grade 3

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
27th Nov 2016 Navan Monksfield 2½m Novice Hurdle
19th Jan 2017 Thurles Kinloch Brae 2½m Chase
22nd Jan 2017 Leopardstown Killiney 2½m Novice Chase
28th Jan 2017 Naas Woodlands 3m Novice Chase
18th Feb 2017 Gowran Park Red Mills Trial 2m Hurdle
19th Feb 2017 Navan Flyingbolt 2m 1f Novice Chase
22nd Feb 2017 Thurles Michael Purcell Memorial 2½m Novice Hurdle
25th Feb 2017 Fairyhouse Bobbyjo 3m1f Chase
26th Feb 2017 Naas Newlands 2m Chase
6th Apr 2017 Limerick Hugh McMahon Memorial 3m Novice Chase

Downgraded from Grade 3 to Listed

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
9th Oct 2016 Limerick Greenmount Park 2m 5f Novice Hurdle
6th Nov 2016 Cork EBF 3m Novice Hurdle

Amended Dates/Conditions

Date Racecourse Race Title Conditions
3rd Aug 2017 Galway Ballybrit (from 6th Sep 2016) 2m 2f Grade 3 Novice Chase
13th Oct 2016 Punchestown Carvill’s Hill (Grade 3 WFA Chase) 3m 1f from 2m 7f

 

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