Mares' chase takes over from Novices' handicap chase at Cheltenham Festival in 2021

Mares' Chase

The Listed 2m4f novices' handicap chase has been named as the race that will make way for the Grade Two mares' chase at the Cheltenham festival next year.

After months and months of back and fourth decision making, officials at Prestbury park have finally revealed the changes that will be made to the 2021 Cheltenham festival.

The Listed 2m4f novices' handicap chase has been one of the most successful races over the years for British trainers and was last year won by the Kim Bailey trained Imperial Aura.

The opening day contest will be swapped with The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (better known as the Fred Winter) and the mares' chase will be run on Gold Cup day.

Other changes across the week will see the Grand Annual Chase that is normally run on Friday will now be run on Wednesday where the Fred Winter was usually positioned on the card and that has been moved to make way for the new mares race on the Friday.

(Credit Racing Post) Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "Deciding which race to replace was not an easy decision and it was important that we took into account all the factors and feedback we received.  But when we evaluated the other novice chase opportunities at the festival, as well as the importance of maintaining the current balance of chases and hurdles over the four days, this was considered the best option."

The decision to add the mares chase was made back in August 2019 and was seen as a stepping stone for the mares division with no chasing event for just those horses.

After the success of the mares hurdle and mares novices' hurdle on the Tuesday and Thursday of the festival, seeing superb winners in most of the years, it was made clear that this race needed to be made.

Rather than adding to the 28 races already on offer across the four days the Cheltenham officials decided to get rid of one of the events and unfortunately for the Listed 2m4f novices' handicap chase it has been chosen as the contest to go.