Cheltenham Racecourse has announced that leading Irish bookmaker Boylesports is to end its sponsorship at the International Meeting, which takes place in mid-December, after a highly successful four-year partnership.

The International Hurdle, feature race of the two-day meeting, has been won by some of the best hurdlers around during that period, including Binocular, who captured the race in 2008 (when transferred to Ascot) and Khyber Kim, who won in 2009. These two horses went on to fight out the finish of the 2010 Champion Hurdle.

Peter McNeile, Cheltenham’s Director of Sponsorship, commented today: “I would like to thank Boylesports for their enthusiastic support of racing at Cheltenham and, in particular, for helping to develop the International Meeting in December and turning the International Hurdle into one of the most important hurdle races of the season.

“The Boylesports team has been a pleasure to work with and gave a real energy to this meeting. We now have an exciting proposition to discuss with potential new backers.”

Mark Nunan, Head of Marketing, Boylesports, said today: “Boylesports is proud and honoured to have been associated with the International Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse over the past four years.

“We would like to thank all the staff at Cheltenham for their help in making the sponsorship one of the premier meetings in the racing calendar. The original objective of the International Hurdle was to build brand awareness in Ireland and the UK.

“We can safely say that this objective was successfully achieved and we look forward to exploring more opportunities in racing in the coming year.

“While our sponsorship of the International Meeting comes to an end, we are in no doubt that we will be working with Cheltenham Racecourse on other opportunities in the future.”