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Cheltenham Festival

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Festival Plate 2020 Racecard

The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Festival Plate is a Grade 3 run over two miles and five furlongs on the New Course at Cheltenham with a total of 17 fences to jump. The race is a handicap race that takes place on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

4:10

Thursday 12 March

Distance: 20f 127y Age: 5yo + Prize: £110000 Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. SNOW FALCON (IRE)
J: E. Walsh
T: Noel Meade, Ireland
10
11-12
Very smart chaser at his best but below par since making a winning return in 21f Grade 2 at Gowran in October. Has run respectably on both previous visits to the Festival though and rider good value.
33 stars

2
jockey silks 2. MISTER WHITAKER (IRE)
J: A. P. Heskin
T: Mick Channon
8
11-7
Winner of the Close Brothers at the 2018 Festival and struck again over C&D last spring. Encouraging return when fifth to Oldgrangewood here on New Year's Day and probably best to ignore latest run.
33 stars

3
jockey silks 3. DEATH DUTY (IRE)
J: Gavin Peter Brouder
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
9
11-6
Looked a very promising novice chaser in 2017, winning 3 times, including a Grade 1, but missed 2 years and has finished held in 2 runs back this time around. First crack at a handicap.
22 stars

4
jockey silks 4. SIRUH DU LAC (FR)
J: Lizzie Kelly
T: Nick Williams
7
11-5
Superb fencer who completed a 4-timer in this race off mark of 141 last year and likely to have had this as his target after an encouraging November return. Lots to like.
55 stars

5
jockey silks 5. ROBIN DES FORET (IRE)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
10
11-5
Three-time winner over fences and has acquitted himself well switched to handicaps. Hot on the heels of Spiritofthegames when third on C&D reappearance in December and merits respect after a wind op.
33 stars

6
jockey silks 6. SIMPLY THE BETTS (IRE)
J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Harry Whittington
7
11-4
Progressive type who made it 3 wins from 4 starts this season when gamely seeing off 11 rivals over C&D in January. Up 9 lb but there's a good chance that this 7-y-o has more to offer.
44 stars

7
jockey silks 7. SPIRITOFTHEGAMES (IRE)
J: Bridget Andrews
T: Dan Skelton
8
11-4
Fifth in County Hurdle at the 2018 Festival and third off 2 lb lower in this race 12 months ago. Has gone close over C&D the last twice and everything in place for another bold show.
44 stars

8
jockey silks 8. HAPPY DIVA (IRE)
J: Richard Patrick
T: Kerry Lee
9
11-4
Likeable mare who took her form up another notch with Betvictor Gold Cup win here in November and fair runs twice since, though handicapper probably has her measure.
33 stars

9
jockey silks 9. LA BAGUE AU ROI (FR)
J: Richard Johnson
T: Warren Greatrex
9
11-4
Dual Grade 1 winner as a novice last term, but fair to say she hasn't kicked on again this season and may prove vulnerable now pitched into a handicap for the first time in her career.
33 stars

10
jockey silks 10. CLONDAW CASTLE (IRE)
J: Jonathan Burke
T: Tom George
8
11-4
Proved better than ever when resuming winning ways at Warwick over this trip last month and ought to remain competitive after 6 lb rise remembering how well he travelled in last year's Arkle.
33 stars

11
jockey silks 11. KAUTO RIKO (FR)
J: David Noonan
T: Tom Gretton
9
11-2
A couple of good seconds this season and was strong at the finish behind Siruh du Lac in this 12 months ago. Career-high mark to overcome though.
22 stars

12
jockey silks 12. VISION DES FLOS (FR)
J: Robbie Power
T: Colin Tizzard
7
11-2
Smart hurdler who showed plenty when fifth behind Champ in Newbury Grade 2 in November and won a match at Chepstow next time. Early mistake did for him at Sandown latest and goes handicapping now.
33 stars

13
jockey silks 13. BEN DUNDEE (IRE)
J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
8
11-2
Third in the Close Brothers at this meeting 12 months ago and good start to this season when runner-up at Navan in December. Not disgraced over hurdles since and could go well.
44 stars

14
jockey silks 14. OLDGRANGEWOOD
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
9
11-2
Appears to have benefited from undergoing wind surgery, winning 2 of his 3 starts this season, most recently a strong C&D handicap on New Year's Day. 5 lb rise fair and he's a must for the shortlist.
44 stars

15
jockey silks 15. IMPERIAL PRESENCE (IRE)
J: James Best
T: Philip Hobbs
9
11-0
Completed a hat-trick over fences in 2018 at up at this trip and back to form in C&D handicap in December. His mark still looks stiff enough.
22 stars

16
jockey silks 16. DEYRANN DE CARJAC (FR)
J: Tom Cannon
T: Alan King
7
11-0
Winner of first 2 starts in this sphere, including a Huntingdon novice on return in November. Solid efforts in Grade 2 company the last twice (over C&D latest) and this mark looks manageable.
44 stars

17
jockey silks 17. LOUIS' VAC POUCH (IRE)
J: Thomas Dowson
T: Philip Kirby
8
10-13
Fairly useful winning hurdler/chaser who shaped encouragingly in a jumpers' bumper starting out for new yard 3 weeks ago and has untapped potential over fences. Interesting at a big price.
33 stars

18
jockey silks 18. LIVELOVELAUGH (IRE)
J: B. Hayes
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
10
10-13
Went close in valuable handicap chase over this trip at the Punchestown Festival in May and his 2 runs back since haven't got to the bottom of him. Festival form doesn't read well, though.
22 stars

19
jockey silks 19. CHARMANT (FR)
J: Denis O'Regan
T: James Ewart
8
10-12
Back to winning ways in 19.4f Wetherby handicap chase in January under this rider and could have more to offer over this sort of trip. This is a whole different ball game to what he's used to, though.
33 stars

20
jockey silks 20. HIGHWAY ONE O ONE (IRE)
J: Adam Wedge
T: Chris Gordon
8
10-12
Not out of things judged on a couple of his efforts this season but he's not looked 100% and been pulled up the last twice.
22 stars

21
jockey silks 21. BLAZER (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
9
10-12
Largely below par in light 2018/19 campaign, but shaped as though back in form on just second run of the season at Leopardstown last month and could be building up to something for all he wins rarely.
33 stars

22
jockey silks 22. SPRINGTOWN LAKE (IRE)
J: Tom O'Brien
T: Philip Hobbs
8
10-11
Again strong in the betting and produced a career-best effort to resume winning ways in the Warwick mud last month, easily coming clear from The Bay Birch. Wouldn't dismiss again up 7 lb.
33 stars

23
jockey silks 23. ROYAL VILLAGE (IRE)
J: Tom Scudamore
T: Ian Williams
8
10-10
Had a productive first half of the season, winning twice and good third at Market Rasen when last seen. This is a lot more competitive than what he's normally used to back from 5 months off, though.
22 stars

24
jockey silks 24. NOT ANOTHER MUDDLE
J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
9
10-9
Won at Sandown before running a mighty race when backed and fifth in the Grand Annual here last year. Gone well fresh and could have more to offer over this kind of trip. Interesting.
44 stars

Analyst's Verdict

SIRUH DU LAC is a tremendous jumper and demonstrated that attribute to the full when landing this 12 months ago under Lizzie Kelly. This is likely to have been his target having shaped well to a point here in November and with the prospect of further improvement to come he's taken to complete a rare double. Ben Dundee, Deyrann de Carjac and Simply The Betts are among the other strong contenders.

The Festival Plate first took place in 1951 in memory of 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete who rode three winners at the Festival as an amateur National Hunt jockey.

There are two horses who have won the race twice – The Tsarevich (1985, 1986) and Elfast (1992, 1994).

Fred Winter is the leading jockey, having tasted victory three times – on Slender (1951 – dead heat), Sy Oui (1953) and Caesar’s Helm (1958).

There are three leading trainers. Bobby Renton – Tudor Line (1954), Caesar's Helm (1958), Siracusa (1959), Merry Court (1968). Nicky Henderson – The Tsarevich (1985, 1986), Liberthine (2005), Non So (2006). Martin Pipe – Terao (1997), Majadou (1999), Dark Stranger (2000), Blowing Wind (2002).

In the 2019 renewal, Lizzie Kelly gained her second win at the Cheltenham Festival when riding Siruh du Lac to victory. The winner typically jumped superbly and answered every question asked of him, always holding off the well-backed favourite Janika on the run-in.

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Festival Plate 2020 FAQs

What is the distance of the Festival Plate?

2 miles and 5 furlongs

How many obstacles are jumped in the Festival Plate?

17

What day of the festival is the Festival Plate?

Day 3

What time is the Festival Plate?

16:10

What weights are carried for the Festival Plate?

As it is a traditional National Hunt handicap chase, weights range from 11 st 12 lb for the top weight, to 10 st for the bottom weight.

What is the purse for the Festival Plate?

£110,000 (2020)

Who is the leading jockey in the Festival Plate?

Since the turn of the century, Richard Johnson, Tom Scudamore and Bryan Cooper have won this race twice. The all-time leading jockey is Fred Winter who won this race three times.

Who is the leading trainer in the Festival Plate?

The leading active trainer is Nicky Henderson with four race wins, but Bobby Renton and Martin Pipe also have 4 victories in this race.

Who won the Festival Plate?

You can check out our Festival Plate results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Festival Plate?

Click the link to visit our Festival Plate Odds Comparison page.

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