Jockey Club Racecourses will again offer a £1million bonus for any horse that can complete the Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown by winning the Betfair Chase, the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase and the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The brilliant Kauto Star remains the only horse to have ever achieved the remarkable feat during an unbeaten 2006-7 campaign, in which he also won the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, the Tingle Creek at Sandown and the AON Chase at Newbury.
As well as landing the huge bonus – with 65 per cent going to the owner(s), 15 per cent to the trainer, 10 per cent to racing staff at the winning yard and 10 per cent to the jockey – connections of any horse to complete the treble this season would also claim the Kauto Star Trophy, commissioned in 2017 and thought to be the only piece of silverware in sport never to have been won.
Kauto’s Star’s trainer, Paul Nicholls, has two potential challengers this season in King George hero Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon, who was last seen claiming a memorable victory in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March under Bryony Frost.
Nicholls said: “Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux are two horses that at, this stage, I have earmarked for the Betfair Chase. Both are real contenders and if either managed to land the first leg then it’s game on.”
In further recognition of his historic achievement, the Jockey Club has also commissioned an illustration celebrating the majesty of Kauto Star, along with trainer Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh, who retired from the sport earlier this year.
Owner Clive Smith is also recognised in a stone carving on the plinth which Kauto Star stands upon.
“I still think in this generation Kauto Star is the best there’s been,” Nicholls added.
“He was a very special horse. When he won the Triple Crown I said it would be an extremely difficult thing for any horse to repeat and I stand by that.
“But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There are some great chasers out there and the new season promises to be very competitive again.”
A chaser has won two of the three legs of the Triple Crown in six of the last 11 seasons. Four of those saw Cue Card in 2015/16, Silviniaco Conti in 2014/15 and Kauto Star in both 2009/10 and 2011/12 win the first two races of the challenge before failing to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Twice in that period the last two legs have been won by Long Run in 2010/11 and Kauto Star in 2008/9 in seasons where they did not win the Betfair Chase.
Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We’re delighted to once again be offering this £1million bonus to horses taking part in the three most prestigious Grade One staying chases in jump racing.
“The fact that no other horse has achieved what the great Kauto Star did nearly 13 years ago shows you not only how special he was but also how competitive this division of jump racing is.
“It would be fantastic to crown a new king of our sport and a great story for racing fans to share with a wider audience.”
The Betfair Chase at Haydock is the first leg on November 23, followed by the King George on Boxing Day and the Gold Cup on March 13.
Betfair offer 12-1 about any horse winning all three races, with Clan Des Obeaux the horse who the firm feel has the best chance of doing so at 50-1.
Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo is a 66-1 shot, ahead of his stablemate Kemboy – who beat Al Boum Photo in an epic Punchestown Gold Cup – at 100-1.