In December, Newbury Racecourse announced that the 60th Hennessy Gold Cup, won in such memorable style by Native River, was the last running of the historic race under the backing of Hennessy.
Newbury has now agreed a valuable long-term sponsorship partnership with Ladbrokes, covering 13 races on both days of its biggest Jump meeting.
The highlight of the two days will be the race formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, a handicap chase over three and a quarter miles. The value of that race will be increased by 25% to £250,000 for its next running. The Ladbrokes-sponsored meeting will take place on Friday 1st December and Saturday 2nd December in 2017, with total prize money over the two days increasing by almost £100,000 to £700,000.
Welcoming the news, Dominic Burke, Chairman of Newbury Racecourse, said: “The Directors of Newbury are delighted to welcome Ladbrokes as sponsor of our most high profile and popular Jump meeting of the year.
“Ladbrokes has supported many races at Newbury over the years, and we are thrilled that Jim Mullen and his team share our ambition to take what is now a superb two-day race meeting to an even higher level, with both days being televised by ITV in 2017.
“The Newbury Board’s decision to partner with Ladbrokes as the new sponsor for this prestigious meeting was made in light of the Government’s commitment to replace the existing Levy Scheme from April 2017. Given the Government’s position, our Board felt that it could agree future sponsorship arrangements with any betting operator for race meetings taking place after that April date.
“We are looking forward enormously to working with the Ladbrokes team on this exciting new partnership, especially given their proven track record of success in elevating the profile of the major races that they have supported over the years.”
Jim Mullen, Chief Executive of Ladbrokes Coral Group, added: “I am extremely pleased and proud that Ladbrokes has reached a deal with Newbury Racecourse and we have made a five-year commitment to sponsor the two-day late November/early December meeting featuring the great steeplechase formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup.
“Horseracing is a vital part of the heritage of our business, and we are passionate about maintaining our support of the sport. We have committed to work in partnership with Newbury Racecourse to build the two days of this fixture into one of the most compelling attractions not just in the racing calendar, but in that of sport as a whole.”
Ladbrokes will sponsor 13 of the 14 races over the two days, with the only exception being the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Handicap Steeplechase on the Saturday, which will continue to be supported by the friends of Sir Peter.
Full details of the exact race programme, race titles and prize money by race will be published later in the year. The initial sponsorship agreement is for five years.