Season XI of the All-Weather Championships gets underway on Tuesday 17 October, with racing at Newcastle. Once again, the season will culminate at the same venue with the £1,000,000 All-Weather Championships Finals Day, alongside the £395,000 All-Weather Championships Vase Day at Lingfield Park.
There are some notable changes to the structure of the All-Weather Championships this season, significantly the removal of ‘Fast Track Qualifier’ status from races which previously afforded horses free and guaranteed entry to the Final in each category.
In addition, the programme for Finals Day at Newcastle will be altered to Open Handicap races, run within the same categories as previous. BetUK will once again partner the Sprint, Middle Distance and Marathon categories with BetMGM joining this season partnering the 3YO, Fillies & Mares and Mile categories. Prize money values will remain unchanged with each Final continuing to offer £150,000 in prize money, with the Middle-Distance Final at £200,000.
The rule that requires three runs on an all-weather racing surface in Britain (at either Chelmsford City, Kempton Park, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Southwell or Wolverhampton), Ireland or France to qualify for the Newcastle and Lingfield Park fixtures on Good Friday will remain. Equally, horses will continue to be permitted one of these three runs to take place in either Dubai or Saudi Arabia.
New for Season XI will be two All-Weather Championships Trials Day fixtures, hosting a series of £45,000 Open Handicaps. Scheduled to take place at Newcastle on 1 January and Lingfield Park on 1 March, both fixtures will offer valuable opportunities for horses across the six All-Weather Championships categories.
The winner of each race will be eligible for free entry to the corresponding Finals Day race at Newcastle, as well as a £30,000 bonus should they go on to also win on Good Friday. Any horse that wins at both All-Weather Trials Days in the same category and goes on to also win at Newcastle will be eligible for a total bonus of £75,000.
ARC announced the return of the £1,000,000 All-Weather Bonus Scheme earlier this year, which will once again offer monthly, and end of season, rewards to the most consistent performers across the groups four all-weather racecourses. The scheme runs in conjunction with the All-Weather Championships, starting on the same date, October 17.
Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division, Mark Spincer, said, “The All-Weather Championships is a popular competition throughout the winter months. We have, however, looked at the structure of the programme, in conjunction with the BHA, that ultimately leads horses to either Newcastle or Lingfield Park on Good Friday and made a few adjustments.”
“Thanks go to BetUK for their continued support and we look forward to welcoming BetMGM onto the All-Weather Championship partner roster”
“Whilst Fast Track Qualifier status will no longer be afforded to a selection of races throughout the season, there will still be plenty of opportunities for the connections of any horse that wishes to do so, to get themselves qualified for the big day. We are really pleased to offer the two new Trials Days, which will be lucrative days in their own right, with the opportunity to possibly win an extra £75,000 on Good Friday.”
“These adjustments to the structure of the wider All-Weather Championships sit alongside the return of the ARC £1,000,000 All-Weather Bonus Scheme which we announced earlier this summer. We hope that both competitions, which run side by side will offer owners and trainers a few options to look at as they plan their winter campaigns.”