A new record amount of prize money in excess of £3.2 million is being offered for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival, which runs at Aintree Racecourse from Thursday, April 12 through to Saturday, April 14 inclusive, it was announced on Monday.
As revealed at the end of 2017, race values across all Jockey Club Racecourses - including Aintree - and at all levels of the sport, are benefiting from an £8-million injection during 2018.
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival commences with Grand National Thursday on April 12, when the two of the four Grade 1 (G1) highlights on this unique day of high-quality racing receive a substantial prize money boost.
The G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle is now worth £250,000 (up £50,000 on the 2017 total). First staged in 1975, it has proved to be the perfect follow-up for horses who have won the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Buveur D'Air in 2017 joined other great performers such as Annie Power, Jezki, Istabraq, Morley Street, Beech Road, Dawn Run, Gaye Brief, Monksfield, Night Nurse and Comedy Of Errors by winning both the Champion Hurdle and the Betway Aintree Hurdle.
There is a £40,000 increase for the G1 Betway Bowl, which now has a total prize fund of £190,000. Past winners of the three mile and a furlong chase include some of the very best performers of the modern era, with Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid, See More Business, Florida Pearl, Siliviniaco Conti and Cue Card all having been successful.
The Randox Health Fox Hunters Chase, staged over the Grand National fences on Grand National Thursday, rises to £45,000, up £5,000.
Friday, April 13 is Ladies Day at the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival and a £50,000 boost to the feature race, the G1 JLT Melling Chase, means it has a record total prize fund of £250,000.
Established in 1991 and run over two and a half miles, the JLT Melling Chase boasts outstanding winners including Don Cossack, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded, Moscow Flyer, Viking Flagship and Remittance Man.
The G3 Randox Health Topham Chase, the Grand National course race on Ladies Day, is worth £140,000, up £20,000, while the G3 Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle increases to £75,000 from £70,000.
On Grand National Day, Saturday, April 14, the Randox Health Grand National retains its position as by far the most valuable Jump race outside of Japan, with a total prize fund of £1 million.
The three-mile G1 Ryanair Liverpool Hurdle, won by the brilliant Big Buck's for four consecutive years between 2009 and 2012, climbs by 20 per cent to £180,000 (from £150,000) while the two main supporting handicaps - the G3 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle and the Listed Betway Handicap Chase - each receive a rise of £5,000 increase, taking them up to £75,000.
Total prize money on offer at the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival comes to £3,210,000 compared to £3,000,000 in 2017 - an increase of seven per cent.
Andrew Tulloch, Regional Head of Racing Jockey Club Racecourses North West and Clerk of the Course at Aintree, commented today: "We are delighted to announce that prize money at the Randox Health Grand National Festival will exceed £3 million this year.
"The feature Grade 1 contests on each of the three days have all received a substantial boost, while all of our Grade 3 handicaps are now worth a minimum of £75,000 each.
"We strive to keep prize money levels as competitive as possible to attract the very best horses to Aintree and we are confident that the increases announced today will enable the Randox Health Grand National Festival to continue to offer exceptional Jump racing action when the world is watching."