KELSO RACECOURSE NEWS - £100k Bonus for bet365 Morebattle Hurdle

Published 2020/12/28

The £75,000 bet365 Morebattle Hurdle will move from mid-February to become the headline event on a bumper £209,000 programme, at Kelso Racecourse, on Saturday 6th March.

The seven-race card already features the bet365 Premier Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) and the bet365 Premier Steeplechase (Listed Race).

In addition to the increased prize fund, the winner of the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle will be eligible for a bonus of £100,000 if going on to win any race at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Four of the seven races scheduled on 6th March, all of which will be sponsored for the first time by bet365, will be broadcast live on ITV1.

On behalf of bet365, Pat Cooney said

“We are delighted to sponsor at Kelso at their most valuable meeting, and can expect a very competitive days racing. The £100,000 bonus will really add interest to what will be an exciting bet365 Morebattle Hurdle, and we look forward to having a talent packed card.”

Managing Director Jonathan Garratt said,

“The Morebattle reverted to being a handicap hurdle last season and this development has been a long time in the planning. We are indebted to our sponsors bet365 for their generous support which has helped to bring the idea to fruition. Our intention is to create a flagship day which will become a major feature of the National Hunt season in 2021 and for many years to come.

Commenting on 2020, a year in which the racecourse was forced to abandon 40% of its fixtures and run all but two racedays behind closed doors, Garratt said

“While it has been difficult for all businesses, in all sectors, we have been determined to maintain prize money and as much business activity as possible because we know how vital it is to the wider racing industry, the rural economy and our local supply chain.

“We remain optimistic that we will be able to get some spectators back in the first half of 2021, even if the number is very restricted at first. In the meantime, we are really grateful for the financial underpinning provided by the Levy Board during the last few months and we will continue to do everything we can to keep the ball rolling. It’s essential that we keep owners and trainers in the game so that we have horses to enjoy when racegoers return to the track.”

There are thirteen days between the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle and the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, a gap which was bridged by Master Tern when completing the Premier Hurdle / County Hurdle double in 2000.

Large Action won the Morebattle as a handicap hurdle, in 1995, before going on to finish second in the Champion Hurdle to Morley Street.

The race was staged as a conditions event for 10 years between 2010 and 2019 and Peddlers Cross accomplished the same feat as Large Action in 2011, while 2019 winner We Have A Dream was second in the County Hurdle (beaten a 1½ lengths).

Simonsig won the Morebattle (with a BHA rating of 146) as a novice hurdler before going on to win the Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012.