Order Of Merit

The Order of Merit is a jump racing series including 70 action-packed races which are conducted from October to April, with the dramatic final event taking place at Sandown Park Racecourse. In a sense the contest crowns the overall best performance of the National Hunt season, although individual races of course hold their own rewards regardless.

While a horse competes in races included in the Order of Merit series, it is awarded points for wins and placings, which are added up at the end of the season to determine the winner. In the case of the Order of Merit, the winner is not merely the horse but its team of connections - including the jockey, the owner, the trainer and the training stable staff - which makes winning the Order of Merit a lucrative experience for everyone involved with the winning horse. And with a prize fund of £100,000 reserved for the Order of Merit winning team, there is plenty of motivation to go around.

The scoring system works as follows:

Finishing Position

Grade 1 Race

Grade 2 Race

Grade 3 Race

1st

20

15

10

2nd

16

12

8

3rd

12

10

6

4th

10

8

5

Last season (2008/09) it was Voy Por Ustedes who emerged victorious from the Order of Merit battlefield, collecting 76 points over just five races including two Grade 1 victories. The £100,000 prize money was divided between the team according to the suggested standard of distribution; 50% to the owner(s) of the horse, 20% to the trainer, and 30% to be divided between the stable staff.

The races included in the Order of Merit are the following:

Race

Racecourse

Grade

October

The Toteswinger Flexi Betting Old Roan Steeple Chase

Aintree

2

The John Smith's Hurdle Race

Wetherby

2

The Bet365 Charlie Hall Steeple Chase

Wetherby

2

November

The William Hill Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Exeter

2

The totetentofollow.co.uk Elite Hurdle Race

Wincanton

2

The Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The Paddy Power Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

3

The Coral Ascot Hurdle Race

Ascot

2

The Amlin 1965 Steeple Chase

Ascot

2

The Betfair Steeple Chase

Haydock

1

The Long Distance Hurdle Race

Newbury

2

The Hennessy Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Newbury

3

The WBX.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle Race

Newcastle

1

December

The Tingle Creek Steeple Chase

Sandown

1

The Totesport.com Peterborough Steeple Chase

Huntingdon

2

The Relkeel Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

2

The Boylesports.com Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The Boylesports.com International Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

2

The BGC Long Walk Hurdle Race

Ascot

1

The William Hill Christmas Hurdle Race

Kempton

1

The William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase (Class 1)

Kempton

1

The skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Steeple Chase

Wetherby

3

The williamhill.com Desert Orchid Steeple Chase

Kempton

2

The Coral Welsh National

Chepstow

3

January

The New Year Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The totesport.com Classic Steeple Chase

Warwick

3

The Victor Chandler Steeple Chase

Ascot

1

The Holloway's Hurdle Race

Ascot

1

The Warfield Mares' Hurdle Race

Ascot

2

The Peter Marsh Steeple Chase

Haydock

2

The Sportingbet Champion Hurdle Trial

Haydock

2

The betchronicle.com Trophy Steeple Chase Handicap

Cheltenham

3

The Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

2

The Letheby&Christopher Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

2

The Bet&Watch All Horse Racing on skybet.com Mares' Hurdle Race

Doncaster

2

February

The totepool Heroes Handicap Hurdle Race

Sandown

3

The totesport Trophy Hurdle Race

Newbury

3

The Aon Steeple Chase

Newbury

2

Totepool Game Spirit Steeple Chase

Newbury

2

The Betfair Ascot Steeple Chase

Ascot

1

The Rendlesham Hurdle Race

Haydock

2

The Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Haydock

3

The Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle Race

Wincanton

2

The Racing Post Steeple Chase

Kempton

3

The totesport.com National Spirit Hurdle

Fontwell Park

2

March

The Newbury Gold Cup Handicap Steeple Chase

Newbury

3

The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Cheltenham

1

The William Hill Trophy Handicap Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

2

The Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

1

The Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle)

Cheltenham

3

The Festival Plate (Handicap Chase)

Cheltenham

3

The Ladbrokes World Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

1

The Ryanair Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

1

The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

1

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

3

The Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle Race

Cheltenham

3

April

The John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle Race

Aintree

1

The totesport Bowl Steeple Chase

Aintree

1

The John Smith's Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase

Aintree

3

The totepool Handicap Hurdle Race

Aintree

3

The John Smith's Melling Chase

Aintree

1

The John Smith's Grand National Steeple Chase

Aintree

3

The John Smith's Aintree Hurdle

Aintree

1

The Jetjar Steeple Chase

Cheltenham

2

The Scottish Champion Hurdle Race

Ayr

2

The Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Steeple Chase

Ayr

3

The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase

Sandown

3

The Bet365.com Celebration Steeple Chase

Sandown

2

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