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.
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.
FESTIVAL PLATE TRENDS
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
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:
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: