Newbury Racecourse announces The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival as the Hennessy Gold Cup morphs into the Ladbrokes Trophy
After Newbury Racecourse secured Ladbrokes to replace Hennessy as the sponsor of its premier National Hunt race, everyone wondered what the race would be called.
The two-day meeting, which takes place on Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2 in 2017, will be known as The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival, with both days broadcast live on ITV Racing.
Saturday's highlight, the race formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, will now become the Ladbrokes Trophy. The Grade 3 contest is worth £250,000 this year - an increase of £50,000 on the 2016 race. The major race on Friday will be the £50,000 Grade 2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle.
Total prize money across the two days is increased by almost £100,000 to £700,000, with Ladbrokes sponsoring 13 of the 14 races in an initial five-year deal.
The only race not sponsored by Ladbrokes is the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase on the Saturday, which will continue to be supported by the friends of Sir Peter.
Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, said: "We are looking forward enormously to the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival in December and to the first running of the Ladbrokes Trophy. This is a major partnership for us and we will be working hard with the Ladbrokes team to build up the profile of the meeting over the coming months and years."
"One aspiration that we both hold is to encourage more entries from trainers based in Ireland, which would add even more interest to this outstanding race meeting."
Mike Dillon, a Director of Ladbrokes, added: "We at Ladbrokes are totally committed to ensuring that the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival becomes one of the peak events of the National Hunt season, a meeting that is magnetic for the professionals and the public."
"We are certain it can be a beacon of all that is best in the sport."
Hennessy, the world famous cognac house, had sponsored the chase from its first running in 1957. Last year's Hennessy Gold Cup was the sixtieth under the Hennessy flag - and the last.
As a Hennessy footnote it is a sad reminder of a great horse that only one chaser ever won both the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Grand National - that was Many Clouds trained by Oliver Sherwood.
Many Clouds won the 2014 Hennessy and went on to triumph at Aintree in April 2015. In January Many Clouds collapsed and died minutes after winning Cheltenham's Cotswold Chase - edging out Thistlecrack who had started the race as the hot favourite.