New sponsor, new silverware: the new perpetual Ladbrokes Trophy unveiled
Late news - Monday, 27 November:: see below for the 22 horses left in the Ladbrokes Triophy. The remarkable anatomy and power of the steeplechaser is the inspiration behind the new winner's trophy commissioned by the sponsor for the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury Racecourse.
Known for sixty years as the Hennessy Gold Cup, Ladbrokes has reinvigorated one of the most iconic and popular contests of Britain’s Jump racing season with an injection of prize money and a new identity that is reflected boldly in the striking trophy that will be lifted by connections of the winner on Saturday, December 2.
The trophy is the work of Lee Simmons, an artist and designer who studied metalwork and silversmithing at university, and relishes the fusion of traditional silversmithing techniques with modern digital technology.
Simmons explains how his design began: "The founding inspiration for the design of the trophy derives from the incredible anatomy of a racehorse and in particular of the structure of the lower leg of the horse, the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the weight and power of these athletic bodies."
"To capture the essence of the racehorse and in homage to them, an abstracted slender form of the lower portion of their legs holds up, in suspended animation, the winner's silver plate that has at its heart an abstracted scene of a chase."
"The perpetual nature of this abstracted animated scene is synonymous with the never-ending endurance and commitment that is given by horse, jockey, trainer and owner, to accomplish racing's greatest achievements."
Simmons first worked with Ladbrokes when he was commissioned to create a distinctive trophy for the winning owner of the 2012 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster, part of a larger trophy designed by his former Sheffield Hallam University tutor Chris Knight, who has in turn assisted in the creation of this trophy.
The design process for this trophy began some six months ago - traditional silversmithing processes cannot be rushed.
Simmons was introduced to the racecourse's CEO Julian Thick by Madeleine Lloyd-Webber: "I have also been working on an interesting commission for the Lloyd-Webbers at the Palladium in London and Julian had seen my portfolio."
"At the same time, I knew Mike Dillon from my previous work for Ladbrokes and so the two things came together when it came to being asked to design and create this trophy."
"I use a lot of 3D printing as part of the design process, and an example of that is the horseshoe shapes used on the main body of the trophy which were made in 3D printed form and then cast in bronze before eventually being created in silver.
"It is a trophy which has a natural affinity to being touched, to being handled and interacted with, which is akin to all of the great sporting trophies. They convey a sense of achievement in their presence and I hope people feel the same way about this trophy when they see it."
Mike Dillon, Director of Public Relations for Ladbrokes, added: "The new trophy is a fitting prize for such an iconic race which repeatedly produces superstar horses."
The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival takes place on Friday, 1 and Saturday, 2 December. Tickets can be booked through the Newbury Racecourse website.
FOOTNOTE: Lee Simmons' work is a synthesis that brings together architecture, art and design and exploits the relationship between their blurred peripheries.
Born in London, in 1987, Lee first studied metalwork and silversmithing at Sheffield Hallam University (2006-2009), and followed his graduation with a Master's degree from the Royal College of Art in London (2009-2011). He currently lives and works at his Hertfordshire design studio.
Lee employs numerous skills and technologies to convey his ideas. To realize them, he adopts a healthy marriage of traditional skills and modern techniques and technologies.
He is currently working on a number of high-profile projects around the capital and is due to complete one of London's largest pieces of public art work at Marble Arch's new development in 2020. It will act as a beacon and gateway into the West End of London.
Lee Simmons' website has more information about his work.
Late news on November 27: Twenty-two horses left in the Ladbrokes Trophy - Saturday, December 2 - they are:
Coneygree, American, Whisper, Carole's Destrier, Label des Obeaux, A Genie in Abottle, Regal Encore, Royal Vacation, Children's List, Pleasant Company, Total Recall, Singlefarmpayment, Double Ross, Missed Approach, Bigbadjohn, Present Man, Vyta du Roc, Braquer d'Or, Cogry, Potters Legend, SouthfieldRoyale, Pilgrims Bay.