Cash boost for Gold Cup
The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup will be worth £500,000 for the first time when it is run on March 18 next year.
It is an increase of £25,000 on last season's running, while the Ryanair Chase has also risen in value by £10,000, taking it to £260,000.
Cheltenham's managing director, Edward Gillespie, said: "The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most important race of our season and we are delighted that it will become the first ever £500,000 race run at Cheltenham.
Meanwhile racegoers in Downpatrick today will be treated to a former Cheltenham Festival winner in the shape of Newmill.
John Murphy's veteran obviously isn't the same force that landed the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase, but he proved he was no back number last season in a campaign that culminated with a three-length defeat of Snowy Morning in the Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles.
Should he be found wanting for fitness on his return in the Joe Rea Memorial Hurdle, the Willie Mullins-trained Wee Giant has any amount of scope for improvement and would be the most likely to take advantage.
Mullins' only other representative on the card, Boxer Georg, goes in the Saintfield Windows Maiden Hunters Chase, although he will need to improve on all known form to contend with Gordon Elliott's The Flying Pencil.