Ladbrokes take on Hennessy Gold Cup sponsorship

The new five-year deal is to sponsor 13 races over two days and begins in December

 Be My Royal and David Casey on their way to the post for the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2002. Photograph: Healy  Racing

Be My Royal and David Casey on their way to the post for the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2002. Photograph: Healy Racing

 

Ladbrokes has taken over the sponsorship of Newbury’s historic Hennessy Gold Cup in a five-year deal which begins in December.

The firm will sponsor 13 races run over two days on December 1st and 2nd with the feature being the prestigious handicap chase known for almost 60 years as the Hennessy.

Ladbrokes isn’t part of British racing’s Authorised Betting Partners Scheme (ABP) having failed to agree with the sport’s stakeholders about a digital levy contribution. However Newbury’s authorities have agreed to the sponsorship after the British government’s decision to replace the current levy scheme from April.

“Given the government’s position, our board felt it could agree future sponsorship arrangements with any betting operator for race meetings taking place after that April date,” a Newbury spokesman said.

The Hennessy was traditionally a major target for Irish-trained horses over the decades and the legendary Arkle won it in 1964 and 1965. It was also the scene of the first clash in the famous rivalry between Arkle and Mill House.

The only Irish-trained winner was the Michael O’Brien-trained Bright Highway in 1980, although Willie Mullins saddled Be My Royal was first past the post in 2002. He subsequently failed a drug test.

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