FESTIVAL PLATE

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Plate Handicap Chase (Festival Plate) is one of the most competitive handicap chases of the year.

It is one of various high-profile handicaps run over this sort of trip at Cheltenham during the season.

Triple Grand National winner Red Rum finished fourth in the 1971 renewal.

Grade 3 | 5yo+ | Thursday 16.10
2 miles 4½ furlongs | 17 fences | New Course
Weight: 10st - 11st 12lb (handicap)
Prize money (2022): £120,000 | 1st: £67,524

First run in 1951 and known as the Mildmay of Flete until 2005, Craft Irish Whiskey Co. are the latest of various sponsors since then, with the race having been called:

The Racing Post Plate (2006-08), the Byrne Group Plate (2010-14), the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (2015-20) and the Paddy Power Plate (2021).

In 2009 it was named the Freddie Williams Festival Plate in honour of 'Fearless' Freddie Williams (1942-2008), a bookmaker renowned for taking huge bets at the Festival.

The last 9 winners were rated in the 140s
4 of the last 6 winners were novices
1 of the last 35 winners carried more than 11st 4lb
5 of the last 35 favourites won (3 of the last 5)
Updated to include 2022 renewal

The Storyteller (147) in 2018 and Simply The Betts (149) in 2020 were the highest rated winners of the Festival Plate since Young Spartacus (147) back in 2003.

Both The Storyteller and Road To Respect (winner in 2017) used victory in this race as a springboard to success at Grade 1 level.

The quality of runner is likely to continue to increase now that the equivalent handicap for novices, that used to be run on Day 1 of the meeting, has been scrapped.

Between 1997 and 2014, the Pipes (7), Venetia Williams (3) and Nicky Henderson (2) won the race 12 times between them, and they remain yards to respect.

Henderson has won the Festival Plate four times in total, the last in 2006, but he has had second and third placed finishers recently, including 50/1 Top Notch in 2021.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
11
145
11-2
2021
8
140
10-5
2020
7
149
11-4
2019
6
141
10-8
2018
7
147
11-4

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Coole Cody
Adam Wedge / Evan Williams
22/1
2021
The Shunter
Jordan Gainford / Emmet Mullins
9/4f
2020
Simply The Betts
Gavin Sheehan / Harry Whittington
10/3f
2019
Siruh Du Lac
Lizzie Kelly / Nick Williams
9/2
2018
The Storyteller
Davy Russell / Gordon Elliott
5/1f
2017
Road to Respect
Bryan Cooper / Noel Meade
14/1
2016
Empire of Dirt
Bryan Cooper / Colm Murphy
16/1
2015
Darna
David Bass / Kim Bailey
33/1
2014
Ballynagour
Tom Scudamore / David Pipe
12/1
2013
Carrickboy
Liam Treadwell / Venetia Williams
50/1
2012
Salut Flo
Tom Scudamore / David Pipe
9/2f
2011
Holmwood Legend
Keiran Burke / Patrick Rodford
25/1
2010
Great Endeavour
Danny Cook / David Pipe
18/1
2009
Something Wells
William Biddick / Venetia Williams
33/1
2008
Mister McGoldrick
Dominic Elsworth / Sue Smith
66/1
2007
Idole First
Alan O'Keeffe / Venetia Williams
12/1
2006
Non So
Mick Fitzgerald / Nicky Henderson
14/1
2005
Liberthine
Sam Waley-Cohen / Nicky Henderson
25/1
2004
Tikram
Timmy Murphy / Gary Moore
12/1
2003
Young Spartacus
Richard Johnson / Henry Daly
16/1
2002
Blowing Wind
Ruby Walsh / Martin Pipe
25/1
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
Dark Stranger
Richard Johnson / Martin Pipe
14/1

In a field reduced to just 15 by seven non-runners in 2022, Coole Cody rallied to win in tremendous style off a career high mark.

The 11-year-old, who was bought by owner Wayne Clifford for just £5,200 as a yearling, was a second Cheltenham Festival winner for jockey Adam Wedge:

‘HE’S AN ABSOLUTE WARRIOR. HE GOT CUT UP ON THE BEND AND THAT JUST PUT MORE FIRE IN HIS BELLY. ONCE I PULLED HIM OUT, HE WASN’T LETTING THEM PAST AGAIN’

The Shunter won in 2021, ridden by apprentice jockey Jordan Gainford, claiming 7lb.

His victory earned connections a £100k bonus, with the winner having won the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on his previous start:

Simply The Betts was a first Festival winner for trainer Harry Whittington in 2020.

After defending champion Siruh Du Lac fell two out, the favourite was hesitant over the last himself before rallying gamely:

Siruh Du Lac, ridden by Lizzie Kelly, had made virtually all the running in 2019 and held on in determined fashion:

The Storyteller gave jockey Davy Russell a 377/1 treble on the day in 2018, despite veering to his right after the final fence:

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Majadou
Tony McCoy / Martin Pipe
7/4f
1998
Super Coin
Norman Williamson / Richard Lee
7/1
1997
Terao
Timmy Murphy / Martin Pipe
20/1
1996
Old Bridge
Gary Crone / Andrew Turnell
14/1
1995
Kadi
Norman Williamson / David Nicholson
11/2
1994
Elfast
Graham McCourt / John Webber
8/1
1993
Sacre d'Or
Graham McCourt / Nigel Tinkler
7/1
1992
Elfast
Martin Lynch / John Webber
10/1
1991
Foyle Fisherman
Eamon Murphy / Josh Gifford
33/1
1990
New Halen
Eamon Tierney / Paul James
66/1
1989
Paddyboro
Richard Rowe / Josh Gifford
9/2
1988
Smart Tar
Carl Llewellyn / Mark Wilkinson
11/1
1987
Gee-A
Gee Armytage / Geoff Hubbard
33/1
1986
The Tsarevich
John White / Nicky Henderson
8/1
1985
The Tsarevich
John White / Nicky Henderson
5/1f
1984
Half Free
Richard Linley / Fred Winter
16/1
1983
Mr Peapock
Leslie Bloomfield / Trevor Hallett
20/1
1982
Doubleuagain
Frank Berry / Andy Geraghty
11/1
1981
Political Pop
Robert Earnshaw / Michael Dickinson
15/8f
1980
Snowshill Sailor
Andrew Turnell / Bob Turnell
8/1
1979
Brawny Scot
Ridley Lamb / George Fairbairn
10/1
1978
King or Country
Paul Leach / David Barons
7/1
1977
Uncle Bing
John Francome / Richard Head
9/2
1976
Broncho II
Michael Dickinson / Tony Dickinson
7/2
1975
Summerville
Andrew Turnell / Bob Turnell
4/1
1974
Garnishee
David Mould / Harry Thomson Jones
9/2
1973
Vulgan Town
Johnny Haine / Toby Balding
9/2
1972
Mocharabuice
Graham Thorner / Tim Forster
11/2
1971
Hound Tor
Macer Gifford / Guy Harwood
14/1
1970
Verona Forest
Gerry Scott / Neville Crump
25/1
1969
Specify
Bob Davies / Denis Rayson
5/1
1968
Merry Court
Josh Gifford / Bobby Renton
20/1
1967
French March
Ben Hanbury / Tom Hanbury
25/1
1966
Tibidabo
Jeff King / Arthur Freeman
7/1
1965
Snaigow
Johnny Lehane / Verly Bewicke
100/6
1964
Take Plenty
Ron Vibert / Tim Forster
100/9
1963
Milo
Josh Gifford / Herbert Blagrave
11/2
1962
Spring Greeting
Johnny Lehane / Verly Bewicke
100/8
1961
Malting Barley
Owen McNally / Toby Balding
5/1
1960
Devon Customer
Joe Guest / Syd Bowler
100/7
1959
Siracusa
Jumbo Wilkinson / Bobby Renton
9/4f
1958
Caesar's Helm
Fred Winter / Bobby Renton
9/2
1957
Madras
Johnny Bullock / Michael Marsh
100/7
1956
Pondapatarri
René Emery / George Beeby
100/6
1955
Mont Tremblant
Dave Dick / Fulke Walwyn
11/2f
1954
Tudor Line
George Slack / Bobby Renton
11/4
1953
Sy Oui
Fred Winter / Ryan Price
100/8
1952
Portarlington
Ken Mullins / Willie Stephenson
8/1
1951†
Slender*
Fred Winter / Ryan Price
7/1
1951†
Canford*
Glen Kelly / Ivor Anthony
100/8
All Festival Plate winners prior to 2000

† Run at April meeting
* Dead heat