Sprinter Sacre will be a hot favourite for Victor Chandler Chase
©Healy Racing Photos
Cheltenham's Festival Trials day on Saturday January 26 is to feature the Victor Chandler Chase after the two-mile showpiece was added to the programme as a result of the abandonment of tomorrow's meeting at Ascot.
Following preparatory discussions throughout the week between the British Horseracing Authority, Ascot racecourse, BetVictor and Jockey Club Racecourses, agreement was reached today to transfer the contest across and produce a glittering eight-race card at Cheltenham.
The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is to contribute £40,000 and Victor Chandler will provide £20,000 to the race bringing the total prize fund to £70,000.
Sprinter Sacre's trainer Nicky Henderson welcomed the move, saying: "I'm pleased the Victor Chandler has moved to Cheltenham as he needs to run, and they are saying that hopefully the Haydock race [Champion Hurdle Trial] will be saved as well.
"All the horses cantered this morning, the snow wasn't too heavy at the time but it's still coming down and there's more about now. I'll have to do a pitch inspection for the rest of the weekend!"
Simon Claisse, clerk of the course at Cheltenham Racecourse, said: "It is obviously disappointing that as a result of the bad weather Ascot has been forced to abandon Saturday's fixture.
"However, we are pleased that the Victor Chandler Chase has been rescheduled to take place on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on January 26th.
"The race will make a great addition to an already extremely strong card and it is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that the race has been rearranged promptly to safeguard this important race. We would like to thank Victor Chandler and the Levy Board in particular for their support."
Karl Riley, marketing director for BetVictor added: 'Whilst we are obviously disappointed to lose the Victor Chandler Chase to the weather, we are delighted to be offered the opportunity to save the race and run it as part of what promises to be a fantastic day's racing at Cheltenham next Saturday.
"I would like to extend a big thank you to all at Ascot, Cheltenham and the BHA for acting so swiftly and preserving our great race."
Entries for the race will close on Monday with the revised Cheltenham programme below:
12:10 The JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (A Juvenile Hurdle Race) (Class 1) (Registered as The Finesse Juvenile Hurdle Race) (Grade 2)
12:40 The Timeform Novices' Handicap Steeple Chase (Class 2)
13:15 The Murphy Group Steeple Chase (A Handicap) (Class 1) (Grade 3)
13:50 The Victor Chandler Steeple Chase (Class 1) (Registered As The Clarence House Steeple Chase) (Grade 1)
14:25 The Argento Steeple Chase (Class 1) (Registered As The Cotswold Steeple Chase) (Grade 2)
15:00 The Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle Race (Class 1) (Registered as The Classic Novices' Hurdle Race) (Grade 2)
15:35 The Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle Race (Class 1) (Grade 2)
16:10 The Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle Race (Class 2)