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Brit Insurance Withdraws from Sponsorship of Jump Racing

Cheltenham Racecourse announces that Brit Insurance is withdrawing from sponsorship of the three-mile novices' hurdle Pattern that concludes at The Festival after three years.

The Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle was introduced as part of the new-look four-day Festival at Cheltenham in 2005 and proved an immediate success with trainers and owners as well as with the racing public.

French maestro Francois Doumen captured the inaugural running when Moulin Riche proved two and a half lengths too strong for Over The Creek, while a year later the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Black Jack Ketchum, under champion jockey Tony McCoy, stretched his unbeaten run to six with an emphatic victory over Powerstation

The O'Neill/McCoy combination achieved a second successive triumph in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle in March this year with Wichita Lineman, who produced a top staying performance to come home 12 lengths in front of Air Force One.

Such has been the impact of the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurde, with its competitive nature and high-class winners, that the British Horseracing Board’s Race Planning Committee is set to upgrade the race to Grade One status for 2008.

Along with the showpiece long distance novices’ hurdle at The Festival, Brit Insurance also sponsored three other Jump Pattern races in the lead-up, at Cheltenham’s Boylesports International meeting in December, at Doncaster in January and Haydock the following month.

Peter McNeile, Cheltenham’s Director of Sponsorship, commented today: “I would like to thank Brit Insurance for their enthusiastic support of what has become a hugely significant series of races in a short space of time. With the likely promotion of the race to Grade One status in 2008, we have an exciting proposition to discuss with potential new backers.”

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