LETHEBY & CHRISTOPHER TO SPONSOR PREMIER GOLD CUP TRIAL
Cheltenham Racecourse is pleased to announce that Letheby & Christopher is taking over the sponsorship of the race formerly known as the Pillar Property Chase.
The Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase is the premier trial for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and this season takes place on Saturday, January 28, 2006 - the final day's racing at Cheltenham before The Festival. Total prize money for the three mile, one furlong contest stands at £80,000 and it is included as race 30 in the BHB's Order of Merit series.
Letheby & Christopher have had a long association with Cheltenham Racecourse, providing catering services at the home of jump racing for close to 50 years.
Bob Reeves, Managing Director of Letheby & Christopher, commented: "We are very pleased to be able to give our support to this classy contest at Cheltenham which follows on from our sponsorship of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle for the last two years.
"Our association with Cheltenham goes back many years and we are delighted to cement it in this way."
Letheby & Christopher are inheriting a race with a great tradition. Under Pillar Property's sponsorship, Master Oats won the contest en route to victory in the chasing Blue Riband in 1995. Looks Like Trouble achieved the same feat in 2000 when he won both races while other significant winners have included the 1999 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victor See More Business (1998 and 2001), subsequent Queen Mother Champion Chase scorer One Man (1997), Cheltenham specialist Cyfor Malta (1999) and French raider Jair Du Cochet (2004). The 2005 running went to the Howard Johnson-trained Grey Abbey who went on to finish fifth in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup before winning the Grade Two Betfair Bowl at Aintree.
Going further back in time, the contest has been associated with star performers since its inception in 1980. Little Owl collected the prize in 1981 before going on to take the Cheltenham Gold Cup the same year, whilst Toby Tobias almost repeated the achievement in 1990, finishing a close second to the 100/1 chance Norton's Coin in the Cheltenham showpiece. The 1985 victor West Tip landed the Grand National a year later, whilst Celtic Shot, successful in 1991, had won the Champion Hurdle some three years earlier. Other high class winners of the race include Combs Ditch (1983), who finished second twice in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, Twin Oaks (1988), an eight-times winner at Haydock, and Dubacilla (1994), who finished second behind Master Oats in the Gold Cup in 1995.
Pillar Property's withdrawal comes as a result of the company's acquisition by British Land earlier this year, with the new management seeking to sponsor in other sports, principally real tennis and skiing.
Raymond Mould, former Chairman of Pillar Property and successful racehorse owner, commented: "Pillar Property was very pleased to sponsor this race for 10 years, especially as it developed into the leading totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup trial.
"Whilst we didn't always enjoy large fields, they were always top-quality and it was pleasing to see Pillar Property Chase winners go on to win the Gold Cup, which was very exciting.
"It was a sad day when British Land said they did not wish to continue the sponsorship but their interests are not the same as the board of Pillar in that they are not interested in racing, so the decision is understandable.
"On a personal level, I will still be backing the race named in honour of my late wife, the Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase on Saturday, December 10."
Peter McNeile, Cheltenham's Commercial Manager, added: "We are delighted to welcome Letheby & Christopher on board for sponsorship of the premier totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup trial.
"Cheltenham would like to extend its sincere thanks to Pillar Property for the company's sponsorship over the last 10 years, during which time the race went from strength to strength.
"I have no doubt that the race will continue to consolidate its position as the most important and very valuable test of the merits of current totesport Gold Cup contenders as they conclude their preparation for March."
intercasino.co.uk TO SPONSOR TWO-DAY CHRISTMAS MEETING AT DONCASTER
Arena Leisure is very pleased to announce intercasino.co.uk as the major sponsor for its two-day Christmas Meeting at Doncaster on Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10.
Intercasino is the headline sponsor for the two days, backing the entire card on the Friday and three races on Saturday, including the two feature contests - the £20,000 intercasino.co.uk Neville Crump Memorial Handicap Chase (2.55pm) and the £15,000 intercasino.co.uk Vulrory's Clown Handicap Chase (3.25pm). Both these races are scheduled to be shown live on Channel 4 Racing.
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Kate Hills, Head of Public Relations for Arena said: "It is great to welcome back intercasino as sponsors at Doncaster Racecourse. I am delighted they have had such a successful year, we have been working closely with them for several months now and we are very grateful for their on-going support at Arena courses. This is a special Christmas Meeting which they will enjoy being part of; it always attracts excellent crowds, a high standard of runners and with terrestrial television coverage by Channel 4, brings significant exposure to an even wider audience."