Northern Racing and Ffos Las Racecourse have announced a three-year sponsorship deal for the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

The six-figure agreement runs until 2013 and positions the two-mile race as a major target for every top hurdler in Britain and Ireland.

The race was revived earlier this year at Ffos Las Racecourse, but the scheduled fixture in January was abandoned because of extreme wintry conditions.

The inaugural new Welsh Champion Hurdle, with £45,000 in prize-money, will now take place on Saturday 5 February 2011.

Northern Racing’s Group Managing Director Tony Kelly said: “This is a fantastic sponsorship deal for the race which helps to give it the status that it deserves in the jump racing calendar. We are thrilled that William Hill are giving the race their support.

“I’m sure – with its great timing less than six weeks before the Cheltenham Festival and its Channel 4 coverage – it is a race that will be of interest to the connections of the leading contenders for the Champion Hurdle itself.

“Ffos Las Racecourse has thrived since its opening in 2009 and has made its mark on the sport of horse racing. The new Welsh Champion Hurdle offers the racecourse a showpiece race, and hopes to welcome some high-class hurdlers for what should be a tremendous day of racing in early February.”

William Hill’s Sponsorship Manager Jennie Prest said; “We are delighted to put our name to the Welsh Champion Hurdle – a sponsorship that completes a full sweep of high-profile sponsorships for us in each of the home nations. Run historically in many other guises, it will now hold the mantle as one of the premier hurdle races in the calendar, and alongside the team at Ffos Las we look forward to developing the day as major pre-Cheltenham trials day.” 

The race was last run in the spring of 2002 at Chepstow Racecourse, by which time it was a class B handicap race. When won in 1990 by Champion Hurdler Beech Road, it was a listed event. Traditionally held in April, the race began to suffer competition from Aintree and Punchestown Racecourses and sometimes attracted only a small field of runners.