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Cheltenham News 15th - 18th March 2005

Cheltenham 2005

Cheltenham 2005 / news/

Brit Insurance announces National Hunt Racing sponsorship deal
Brit Insurance, a UK-based international general insurance, reinsurance and investment Group, today announced a further development to its sports sponsorship activity 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 programme.

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 year.

"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 Hunt

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."

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