Cheltenham Festival hunter chase renamed with fox lost from the title

The race formerly run as the St James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase at Cheltenham has been renamed, with the fox removed from its title.

The contest which was first staged in 1904 and traditionally follows the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will be known as the St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase this year.

Cirencester-based St James's Place Wealth Management has renewed its sponsorship of the 3m2½f chase, taking its backing to 2025.

A Jockey Club spokesman said: "Both the racecourse and the sponsor wanted to make the race clearly synonymous with the festival while protecting its heritage, including the important hunter chase race designation, and hopefully we've done that."

Nina Carberry, who won the race in 2015 and 2016 with On The Fringe, said: "I was thrilled to win it twice – it's a special race, an amateur's Gold Cup which holds a lot of fond memories for me. I really like the name St. James's Place Festival Hunters' Chase – it reinforces the race's connection with the home of jump racing whilst also keeping its tradition as one of the sport's most iconic hunter chases."

The equivalent race at Aintree, which the Jockey Club also owns, remains the Randox Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase.

New chief commercial officer heads three senior Jockey Club appointments

The Jockey Club has appointed its first chief commercial officer with Charlie Boss set to join the group in March from the Walt Disney Company where he is currently commercial director for sports across Europe and Africa.

Boss is one of three senior commercial appointments made by new chief executive Nevin Truesdale, with Alexandra Goldschmidt, who was most recently commercial director at Harlequins, joining as director of partnerships on a fixed-term contract to cover maternity leave.

The Jockey Club has also promoted Hannah Grosvenor to the position of national sales director.

Truesdale said: "Their appointments are the latest examples of the kind of talent we are privileged to welcome and nurture within the Jockey Club, which will ensure we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic on as strong a footing as possible."

BHA announces new race conditions for hunter chases at spring festivals

The BHA has announced new race conditions for the two hunter chases at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals to reflect the recent cancellation of point-to-point racing in Britain and Ireland.

The St James's Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, often referred to as the amateurs' Gold Cup, previously required horses to have either finished in the first two in a hunter chase on two occasions or won two open point-to-point races, or one of each, within the previous two and a half years.

Now, a new condition has been added to allow horses who finish in the first four on two occasions in a hunter chase between January 20 and March 1, 2021 to qualify.

The same new conditions apply to Aintree's Randox Foxhunters' Chase, which is run over the Grand National fences, with the qualification period extended to March 22.

Both sets of rules apply to this year only and horses who are already fully qualified for either race do not need to requalify with the additional conditions. If a horse has had one run which qualifies, only one further run which qualifies is required.