The Festival Plate is a tricky handicap to solve on day three of the Festival, and the market regularly changes throughout the season. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 Festival Plate as the picture becomes clearer.
The latest odds for the Festival Plate will be listed below just as soon as they become available.
Festival Plate Tips
Tips for the 2020 Festival Plate Handicap Chase will appear here.
What is the Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
The Festival Plate is a handicap chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, St Patrick’s Day, run over two miles, four furlongs and 127 yards. The race is one of the more difficult betting heats during the four days, and winners regularly return at a double-figure price, with Carrickboy winning in the Trevor Hemmings colours at 50/1 back in 2013.
The history of the Festival Plate Handicap Chase
The Festival Plate began life in 1951, and was named the Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup, in memory of the 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete. The race has been sponsored since 2006, and is currently backed by Brown Advistory and Merriebelle Stable. It was named in honour of bookmaker Freddie Williams for the 2009 renewal. Three trainers have won the race on three occasions, Bobby Renton, Nicky Henderson and Martin Pipe, while The Tsarevich and Elfast are the only two horses to have ever won the race twice.
What happened in the 2019 Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
The 2019 renewal of the Festival Plate felt typically competitive, and a host of the 22-strong field came into the race with solid claims. The favourite was the Nicky Henderson-trained Janika, a French import who had impressed in lofty assignments in his first two starts in Britain. He made a bold bid to pick up a first success on these shores, but he found the Nick Williams-trained Siruh Du Lac too tough a nut to crack, and he picked up his fourth straight win of the season under Lizzie Kelly - who picked up her second win at the Cheltenham Festival in as many years.
Who is the most iconic winner of the Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
Winners of the Festival Plate aren’t perhaps quite as illustrious as winners of other races at the festival, though several useful performers have won the race over the years, including the 2017 winner the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect. He belied his odds of 14/1 to run out a comfortable winner of the Festival Plate, scoring by six lengths, and it didn’t take long for him to prove his talents, following up in a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse the following month. Road To Respect has since won the Grade 1 Christmas Chase at Leopardstown in 2017, one of the top staying chases of the season, before blowing away the field to win the Grade 1 jnwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal the following season. Road To Respect has impressed in his two festival starts since winning the Festival Plate, finishing fourth in the 2018 Gold Cup and third in the 2019 Ryanair Chase, and considering he’s due to turn nine this season, his owners Gigginstown House Stud will be hopeful that there’s more to come yet.
Are there any trials for the Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
The Festival Plate’s make-up as a fiercely competitive handicap chase over two and a half miles means that there’s a multitude of different routes to the race, and recent winners have had both progressive profiles and have also dropped back into handicap company from graded contests. Competitive handicap races, such as the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham, are strong starting points.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
The most successful jockey in the history of the Festival Plate is the great Fred Winter, who has won the race on three occasions, with Slender (1951), Sy Oui (1953) and Caesar’s Helm (1958).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Festival Plate Handicap Chase?
The honour of being the most successful trainer in the history of the Festival plate is shared by three trainers, Bobby Renton, Martin Pipe and Nicky Henderson, with four each. The latter’s four wins in the race came courtesy of The Tsarevich (1985 & 1986), Liberthine (2005) and Non So (2006), while Martin Pipe’s four wins came courtesy of Terao (1997), Majadou (1999), Dark Stranger (2000) and Blowing Wind (2002). Meanwhile, Bobby Renton’s four victories came with Tudor Line (1954), Caesar’s Helm (1958), Siracusa (1959) and Merry Court (1968).