Bookmaker Ladbrokes has signed up as the new main sponsor of the Gold Cup annual UK horse-racing event as part of a long-term partnership with Newbury Racecourse.
Ladbrokes has agreed a five-year deal to sponsor Newbury’s two-day winter jump meeting in a deal that runs from 2017 to 2021.
The Gold Cup will serve as the highlight of the Ladbrokes-sponsored meeting, which this year takes place on December 1-2. Prize money for the 2017 Gold Cup has increased by 25 per cent to £250,000 (€290,000/$312,000), with the total prize money over the two days increasing by almost £100,000 to £700,000.
Ladbrokes will sponsor 13 of the 14 races of the two days, with the exception being the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Handicap Steeplechase, which will continue to be supported by the friends of the late commentator and journalist.
Ladbrokes replaces French cognac brand Hennessy as the Gold Cup’s main sponsor. Hennessy last month ended its long-running association with the event and Ladbrokes had been mooted as the brand’s replacement. Hennessy began its support of the Gold Cup in 1957 and served as title sponsor every year through to the 2016 event.
Ladbrokes does not fall under the British Horseracing Authority’s authorised betting partner scheme and, according to the Racing Post newspaper, has failed to reach an agreement with stakeholders over a suitable digital contribution to the levy.
However, the British government earlier this month announced that the existing betting levy will on April 1 be replaced by a new system that will require betting operators to return 10 per cent of their gross profits generated from bets placed on horse racing back to the sport. Newbury chairman Dominic Burke said the new ruling played a part in the racecourse’s decision to partner with Ladbrokes.
“The Newbury board’s decision to partner with Ladbrokes as the new sponsor for this prestigious meeting was made in light of the government’s commitment to replace the existing levy scheme from April 2017,” Burke said. “Given the government’s position, our board felt that it could agree future sponsorship arrangements with any betting operator for race meetings taking place after that April date.”