The new British jump racing season gets underway on Saturday 5 May at Uttoxeter’s Staffordshire Plate Meeting. A bumper 102 horses have been declared across the card, with Charlie Longsdon’s Hammersly Lake, Harry Fry’s American and Colin Tizzard’s Sizing Codelco topping the weights for the feature race, the £35,000 Staffordshire Plate, a handicap run over three miles.
Having recently collected his third Stobart Champion Jockey Championship at Sandown Park, sponsors bet365 make Richard Johnson odds on 2/5 favourite to retain his crown. It will once again be no easy task, however, as Harry Skelton and Brian Hughes are both well fancied to push Johnson hard once again. bet365 offer 9/2 and 6/1 respectively on the pair.
Similarly, bet365 make reigning champion Nicky Henderson odds on at 2/5 to retain his Champion Trainer crown for the 6th time. Former champion Paul Nicholls, Irish champion Willie Mullins and Colin Tizzard are next in the betting at 3/1, 16/1 and 20/1 respectively.
Pat Cooney, bet365 spokesman, said, “We expect another title winning season for Nicky Henderson as he already has established Grade 1 winners in his stable with the strong likelihood of more to join them throughout the season.
It promises to be more difficult though for Richard Johnson to retain his title as Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton look formidable rivals, in fact, this may not be decided until the final week of the season!’’.
The Staffordshire Plate was run for the first time in 2017, and thanks to support from bet365, sees a prize money boost of £10,000 to a total of £35,000 in 2018. To commemorate the fixture’s position at the start of the jump season, the racecourse has commissioned a new trophy, which will be awarded for the first time in 2018.
Made by Stoke-on-Trent artist Jonathan Plant, Director of Moorland Pottery, the new Staffordshire Plate features the county crest along with scenes commemorating the industrial, sporting and cultural heritage of the region.
Executive Director of Uttoxeter Racecourse, David MacDonald said, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the start of the new jumps season here at Uttoxeter at the Staffordshire Plate Meeting, and are very grateful to bet365 for their continued support of the day”
“We are very aware of the special position that Uttoxeter Racecourse and our key races, including the Midlands Grand National, have in the local community and we’re always looking to help put Staffordshire on the map. Our new Staffordshire Plate is a fantastic piece which we will be proud to present on Saturday and in years to come in honour of the artistic and sporting heritage of the county”.
Uttoxeter Racecourse features a number of highlights of the British Summer Jumps season, including the £75,000 Marston’s Summer Cup in July alongside live music events which include Heaven17 and The Lightening Seeds on Saturday 19 May.
For more information on racing fixtures and other events at Uttoxeter Racecourse, or to buy tickets, please visit our events calendar.