Unibet, alongside the Jockey Club and BHA, will be launching a new middle-distance veterans’ chase series for 10, 11 and 12-year-olds over two miles and four furlongs.
The Unibet Middle Distance Veterans’ Series has been created to generate more opportunities for quality 10-year-old-plus chasers who might have found winning chances limited in other valuable races.
The five-year deal will launch throughout the 2023/24 Jump racing season, with six races followed by a series finale which will take place at Haydock on the 30th March 2024.
The 2024 finale will not require horses to have run in previous races in the series. However, The Jockey Club will fund a £10,000 bonus for any horse that wins the finale, if they have also won another race in the series earlier in the season.
The opening race of the series will take place at Kempton on 13th November 2023, before heading to Cheltenham for their Christmas meeting on 15th December. Four of the races currently scheduled throughout the 2023/24 campaign will be shown live on ITV.
Looking further ahead, from the start of the 2024/25 season the Unibet Middle Distance Veterans’ Series will become an eleven-race series with ten qualifiers and a final for horses who have entered and ran in that season’s series. The opening race of the series will take place at Market Rasen on the 20th July 2024, with the final once again taking place at Haydock, on the 8th April 2025. Six of the eleven races will be shown live on ITV.
Since their entry into the UK market in 2013 the Unibet brand alone has sponsored over 2,000 races. Unibet recently signed a multi -million-pound sponsorship deal which will see them continue their sponsorship of the Unibet Champion Hurdle, along with other top-class two-mile hurdle races, for the next five years, until 2028.
Ed Nicholson, Head of Kindred Group racing:
“We are delighted to sign another new long-term deal with the Jockey Club and further showcase Unibet’s commitment to UK horse racing. Veterans’ Chases are extremely popular and often attract competitive fields. Following the success of the Unibet Veterans’ Chase Final run over three miles at Sandown in January, sponsored by Unibet since 2018, we thought there was a need for a similar series over a shorter trip, so approached the Jockey Club to see what we could come up with”.
“It is always exciting to see much-loved older horses competing for good prize money. Hopefully the series will help persuade owners to keep some of the legends of our sport in the game for a little longer. I personally spoke to several high-profile owners and trainers during the research stage explaining our idea and received extremely positive feedback, which was enormously pleasing”.
“This agreement comes at a pivotal time for our sectors. Over the course of this new deal through to 2028, the landscape for betting and racing in the UK could look very different. We fully understand the concerns currently being raised by many in the racing sector about the potential friction caused by some of the white paper consultations for millions of everyday racing punters. We are keen to continue being a partner to the sport we love and are committed to continue investing in and supporting it in the coming years.”
Nicky Henderson, six-time Champion Trainer, commented:
“It is great to see a new veterans’ chase series set up over two and a half miles. These races are vital for horses of a certain age whose best years are behind them but are still having to compete off lofty handicap marks. These races provide a fantastic opportunity for some wonderful servants of our game to still compete for top prize money. It’s also brilliant for racing fans to be able to come and see some of their favourite household names at the twilight of their careers and we hope to be able to support the series.”
Richard Norris, Group Racing Director at The Jockey Club, said:
“We’re delighted to be strengthening our partnership with Unibet in an area of the race programme that has proved so beneficial to the horse population and popular with racegoers.
“Our thanks go to Ed and his team for their drive and support for this initiative and we look forward to seeing the series commence over the coming season.”
Notes to Editor:
Full list of fixtures 23/24:
19/01/2024 Market Rasen
30/03/2024 Haydock (Final)
ABOUT KINDRED RACING (UNIBET):
During the last 12 months Unibet, part of the Kindred group, sponsored a total of 360 horse races (bringing the total since launching in the UK in May 2013 to 2,044 at time of writing) across all disciplines of the sport: on the all-weather - where Unibet continue to be the Official Betting Partner of Kempton racecourse, on the flat as well as over hurdles and chases.
73% of these sponsored races were handicaps, while Unibet also sponsored three Grade 1 contests, three Grade 2 events, three Grade 3’s and three listed races.
In total 3363 horses ran in these 360 races, with the winners alone picking up £1,038,105 in prize money from races sponsored. Our continued and significant commitment to horse racing sees us invest millions of pounds in the sport through sponsorship, marketing and media rights – not to mention levy payments – each year.
ABOUT KINDRED GROUP (UNIBET):
Kindred Group is one of the world’s leading online gambling operators with business across Europe, North America and Australia, offering over 30 million customers across 9 brands a great form of entertainment in a safe, fair and sustainable environment. The company, which employs approximately 2,500 people, is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Large Cap and is a member of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and founding member of IBIA, (International Betting Integrity Association). Kindred Group is audited and certified by eCOGRA for compliance with the 2014 EU Recommendation on Consumer Protection and Responsible Gambling (2014/478/EU). Read more on www.kindredgroup.com.