FESTIVAL PLATE

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

First run in 1951 and known as the Mildmay of Flete for many years, it is one of various high-profile handicaps run over this sort of trip at Cheltenham during the season.

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

It is the second of back-to-back races on Thursday sponsored by the bookmaker - together with the Stayers’ Hurdle.

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

The last 8 winners were rated in the 140s
4 of the last 5 winners were novices
1 of the last 34 winners carried more than 11st 4lb
The last 4 winners were priced at 5/1 or shorter
5 of the last 35 favourites won (3 of the last 4)

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 race four times in total and has had a 2nd and 3rd in the last 3 years, including 50/1 Top Notch in 2021.

However, The Shunter was the fourth Irish trained Festival Plate winner since 2016.

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

The Shunter was ridden by apprentice jockey Jordan Gainford, claiming 7lb.

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: