Cheltenham Racecourse announces today that Ryanair, Europe's favourite airline, has agreed to renew its sponsorship of the Grade 1 (G1) Ryanair Chase at The Festival for five more years from 2018 to 2022 inclusive.
The prize fund, as previously revealed, rises to £350,000, up £50,000 from last year, on St Patrick's Thursday, March 15, 2018.
The race value of the G1 championship chase over nearly two miles and five furlongs, founded in 2005, will increase in stages to £400,000 by 2022. Ryanair's sponsorship commenced in 2006.
The Ryanair Chase has a tremendous roll of honour including Un De Sceaux (2017), Vautour (2016), Cue Card (2013), Albertas Run (2011 and 2010), Imperial Commander (2009) and Our Vic (2008).
Ryanair's Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary, through his Gigginstown House Stud, has owned the runner-up four times - Mossbank (2008), First Lieutenant (2013), Valseur Lido (2016) and Sub Lieutenant (2017) - as well as two thirds and is yet to win the Ryanair Chase.
The Ryanair Chase is now the fourth most valuable race during the four days of The Festival (Tuesday, March 13 to Friday, March 16, 2018) after the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (Friday), Unibet Champion Hurdle (Tuesday) and Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Wednesday).
Ryanair, the official airline partner of The Festival, continues to bring more than 20,000 Irish visitors each year to and from Cheltenham for The Festival.
Ian Renton, Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses South West, commented: "We are delighted that Ryanair is renewing sponsorship of the Ryanair Chase for a further five years.
"The race had gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2005 and Ryanair's support is very much appreciated. I just hope that at some point Michael manages to win the Ryanair Chase!"
Ryanair's Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: "We are pleased to extend sponsorship of the Ryanair Chase for a further five years.
"Cheltenham is the major Jump Festival which enables Ryanair to carry tens of thousands of Irish Jump racing fans to and from the Cotswolds each March.
"Ryanair is an enormous supporter of the bloodstock industry in Ireland and the UK, flying to most of the major racecourses, breeding and sale centres such as Aintree, Cheltenham, Newmarket and Doncaster."