Cheltenham 2005 / news/
Brit Insurance announces National Hunt Racing sponsorship deal
Insurance, a UK-based international general insurance, reinsurance and
investment Group, today announced a further development to its sports
with its first venture into National Hunt racing.
Brit will sponsor an integrated seasonal package in the National Hunt calendar
comprising four 3-mile Grade 2 Novices' Hurdle races culminating in a new race
at next year's four day Cheltenham Festival.
The series kicks-off with the £35,000 Brit Insurance Novices Hurdle at
Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 11th December. Two further Brit Insurance Novices
Hurdle races - each carrying a £30,000 prize fund - will then be staged
at Doncaster on Saturday 29th January and at Haydock Park on Saturday 19th February.
The Cheltenham and Doncaster races will be broadcast on Channel Four, whilst
Haydock's race is covered during BBC Grandstand.
The culmination of the four race series will be the newly created £75,000
Brit Insurance Novices Hurdle on the Friday of the 2005 Cheltenham Festival,
National Hunt racing's most prestigious meeting.
The 3-mile Brit Insurance Novices Hurdle will be televised live as part of Channel
4's Festival coverage on Friday March 18th 2005 with an expected audience of
over one million viewers and an audience share of between 10-20%.
Race coverage will also be broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live during a dedicated three-hour
All four Brit Insurance Novices Hurdle races form part of the National Hunt Pattern
- a series of televised races at major racecourses that create a path to the
championships for horses in each category.
Neil Eckert, CEO at Brit Insurance, said: "In conjunction with our sponsorship
advisors, WSM, we sought to identify a sports property that would complement
our existing portfolio.
"Our sponsorship of The Brit Insurance Super Series Squash Finals, Surrey
CCC and The Brit Oval has been an outstanding success but has left us with a
void to fill over the winter period. A key consideration was therefore to invest
in a property that would extend our sponsorship activity throughout the calendar
"As a key feature of the UK's winter sporting calendar, National Hunt racing
provides an excellent fit. Not only does it deliver tremendous media exposure
for the Brit brand through live terrestrial TV, national radio and press coverage,
but it also presents us with highly sought-after hospitality opportunities during
the Cheltenham Festival" he added.
Peter McNeile, Commercial Manager at Cheltenham Racecourse, said: "National
racing - and the Cheltenham Festival in particular - has proved an excellent
platform for sponsors to build their brands and businesses and we look forward
to working with Brit to ensure that their sponsorship delivers maximum value.
We are delighted to welcome another leading brand to our family of race sponsors."