Hennessy end 60-year association with Newbury chase

Native River: winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup last month

PICTURE: Getty Images Hennessy end 60-year association with chase By Jack Haynes 11:57AM 6 DEC 2016

HENNESSY confirmed on Tuesday its 60-year association with Newbury's feature handicap chase, won by Native River last month, has come to an end.

The Grade 3 contest, worth £113,000 to the winner this year, is one of racing's most established handicap chases. With Hennessy ending its sponsorship, LadbrokesCoral are expected to take over.

The race has been won twice by Mandarin, Arkle and Denman since its inauguration in 1957 while the likes of One Man, Burrough Hill Lad and Teeton Mill are other star chasers on an illustrious honour roll.

Jo Thornton, managing director of Moët Hennessy UK, said: "Hennessy has enjoyed 60 wonderful years of sponsoring The Hennessy Gold Cup. Over the decades, the race has been won by many extraordinary and courageous horses, jockeys and trainers.

"We are enormously grateful to the directors and team at Newbury, who have always delivered racing of the highest quality, at one of the UK's most iconic racecourses. Hennessy are proud to have worked with Newbury in creating such an important and enjoyable day in the racing calendar. We wish them every continued success."

Expected new deal

Newbury's expected new sponsorship deal with LadbrokesCoral will likely cause ructions within the sport as the recently merged firm is not signed up to the BHA's authorised betting partners policy.

Bookmakers signed up to the ABP initiative, which include Betfair, bet365, 32Red, BetVictor and SkyBet, can sponsor races at courses aligned to the BHA's policy while those who are not signed up are barred from doing so.

However, as an independent track Newbury is able to negotiate with whoever it wants and those ABP bookmakers, as well as racing's other major stakeholders, would likely take a dim view of the new deal, which is expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

Newbury's feature handicap chase is one of several leading races to change sponsorship this year. William Hill were replaced by 32Red as King George VI Chase sponsors, Ryanair took over from Ladbrokes for the World Hurdle and Timico acquired sponsorship of the Cheltenham Gold Cup from Betfred.

Dominic Burke, chairman of Newbury, said: "We are enormously grateful to several generations of the Hennessy family and the company's management team for their wonderful support of such a special event, but everything comes to an end at some point.

"It is fitting that the sponsorship is drawing to a close after such a thrilling race to mark the 60th Hennessy Gold Cup as the highlight of two wonderful days of top class jump racing last month."

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