Hurdling aces can secure €1.49m bonus

Crack two-mile hurdlers will have the chance to secure a £1m bonus if they land three of the most prestigious contests over timber this season.

Following the inception of the WBX Hurdling Triple Crown, any horse landing both Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Kempton’s Stan James Christmas Hurdle will carry off the prize if going on to claim gold in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

WBX, which will officially launch its betting exchange on November 25, has instituted the ‘Hurdling Triple Crown’ to compliment their sponsorship of the Fighting Fifth, run on the same day.

Explaining the concept, WBX’s chief executive Malcolm Gray said: “The elevation of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle to top flight status now means that there are three Grade One two-mile hurdles during the National Hunt season.

“The WBX Hurdling Triple Crown will bind together those three races to form a championship series which will finally offer horse racing fans a true measure of the greatest hurdlers in National Hunt racing.

“Our initiative has the full support of the training community on both sides of the Irish Sea, and we already have a firm commitment from a number of owners of the top hurdlers both here and in Ireland to go for the £1million bonus.”

Should any horse achieve a clean sweep and claim the bonus, the windfall will be shared between the victorious connections and stable staff.

The winning owner will take £700,000, the trainer £150,000 and the stableperson responsible for the horse will receive £100,000.

The remaining £50,000 would then be distributed between all other stable staff.

“Stable staff play an enormous role in the preparation of any horse, and we have made a point of making sure that any stable lad or lass responsible for the winner of the WBX Hurdling Triple Crown wins a life changing a mount of money,” added Gray.

“WBX will continually look to support those who work at the grass roots of horse racing in this country, and we hope to offer similar incentives to stable staff who win big races that we sponsor in the future.”

Up to now, Kribensis is the only horse to have landed all three races in the same season, although the Fighting Fifth was not a Grade One race when Sir Michael Stoute’s grey achieved the feat back in 1989.

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