At a sponsors’ gathering and season’s launch at Cheltenham today it was revealed that Skinner’s Pet Foods, which has a network of stockists around the UK, is backing 22 ladies’ open races. That is an increase of two, culminating in a prestigious hunters’ chase final at Stratford in May. Skinner’s is also sponsoring the national women riders’ title.
Frontline construction company JRL Group Ltd is ramping up its backing for the sport’s point-to-point Flat races, which have been increased in number from six to 10. The additional contests were a natural progression for a relatively new concept – of last year’s half-dozen races five were so popular they had to be run in divisions.
Leading horse feed manufacturer Connolly’s RED MILLS enters its twelfth year of sponsorship by supporting 14 intermediate races plus a hunters’ chase final at Cheltenham in May. The company also backs the champion horse award for the winning-most pointer, while its supplement brand, Foran Equine, sponsors the two trainers’ championships.
Leading managed IT and communications provider Timico returns with its lucrative series of mixed open races – each one worth £1,000 in total prize money – leading to a hunters’ chase final at Cheltenham worth £25,000, notable riches for the amateur sport. Fourteen races will lead up to the final, which will mark Timico’s third year of sponsorship.
Filly and mare owners are not short of opportunities for their horses. The Jockey Clubsponsors a 19-race series for maiden fillies and mares, leading to the creation of a champion. She will collect double prize money on her first run at any Jockey Club-owned racecourse within three years of winning the award.
The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association continues its 3-2-1 Bonus scheme for fillies and mares running in the trio of point-to-point bumpers run under Rules each spring. Bonuses of up to £3,000 can be won by fillies or mares in each race.