The Leopardstown Christmas Festival will offer total prize money this year of €1.45 million, a 12 per cent increase on 2017.
The Festival is one of the main sporting attractions of the Festive season and runs as ever from December 26th to 29th.
Savills are the main new sponsor and they take over the Savills Chase with total prize-money of €175,000, an increase of €25,000.
The third day of the Festival will now carry the banner of ‘Savills Day at Leopardstown’.
The total increase of €160,000 is spread among most of the races with the very real benefit of creating prizes for no fewer than four more races crossing over into six-figure sums.
The Racing Post Novice Chase is the Grade 1 feature on St Stephen’s Day, Wednesday, December 26 and sees its prize-money increased to €100,000 from €90,000.
On the same afternoon, the value of the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle rises from €45,000 to €50,000.
Both Grade 1 races on the second day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival on Thursday, December 27 are up in value with the Paddy’s Rewards Club ‘Sugar Paddy’ Chase rising €25,000 to €125,000.
The Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle becomes another race with a six-figure prize fund with an increase of €15,000 bringing the overall value to €100,000.
The Grade 1 Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle over three miles will now also be worth €100,000, an increase of €15,000 on last year.
The final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival on Saturday, December 29 features two more Grade 1 races. The Ryanair Hurdle sees its value rising to €125,000 from €100,000 while the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase goes up from €85,000 to €100,000.
There are further improvements to the prize-money on offer for all the higher quality handicaps at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. The opening day’s ‘Bet Through the Racing Post App’ Handicap Chase is now worth €30,000 (from €27,500), Paddy Power ‘Enough of the Nonsense’ Handicap Hurdle on the second day is up to €30,000 (from €28,500), the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle on day three of the Festival rises to €30,000 (from €26,500) while The Irish Daily Star Christmas Novice Handicap Hurdle is now a €20,000 race (from €17,500). The opening race on the final day, Saturday, December 29 is the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase and its value goes up from €18,000 to €20,000.
“It is with thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors and HRI that we can announce these significant prize-money increases today,” said Leopardstown CEO Pat Keogh.
“We are delighted for the owners, who are so important, that the increases are across the board and include virtually all 28 races over the four days. The quality of racing at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is second to none and we strive to build on our success year-on-year.”
“It was wonderful to see horses that ran here last December returning just six weeks later for the Dublin Racing Festival before going on to compete and win at the big Spring meetings, and we expect the same and more in 2018 into 2019.”
“We are really looking forward to being in the thick of things this Christmas and hope to be able to win some of the big races at Leopardstown,” added trainer Gordon Elliot.
“Coeur Sublime will be targeted at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and we plan to aim as many of our good horses at the festival as possible.”
Image Credit: Dan Sheridan, Inpho.ie