Cheltenham Racecourse is delighted to announce that Unibet has renewed its sponsorship of the Unibet Champion Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners until 2023.
As part of the significant five-year deal, Unibet is also continuing to back the Unibet Road to Cheltenham - four key races ahead of the £450,000 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, which is the highlight of Champion Day at The Festival™ presented by Magners, which next takes place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Unibet is part of the Kindred Group, one of the largest online gambling companies in the world which previously backed the two-mile Champion Hurdle under the Stan James banner before this year's renewal in March became the first with the Unibet name. Stan James, bought by the Kindred Group in 2015, first sponsored the Champion Hurdle in 2011.
The Unibet Champion Hurdle has been won by outstanding horses since then, including Hurricane Fly, who became the first horse in 38 years to regain the hurdling showpiece when scoring for a second time in 2013.
Faugheen led home a remarkable 1-2-3 for trainer Willie Mullins in 2015, while Annie Power became only the fourth mare to win the hurdling championship when storming to victory in 2016.
The last two renewals of the Unibet Champion Hurdle have been won by Buveur D'Air and the seven-year-old, trained by Unibet ambassador Nicky Henderson, will be aiming to join a select group of great three-time winners - Hatton's Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq - when he defends his crown in March.
The full list of races in the Unibet Road to Cheltenham is:
Unibet Elite Hurdle (Grade 2) - Wincanton, Saturday, November 10, 2018
Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) - Cheltenham, Sunday, November 18, 2018
Unibet International Hurdle (Grade 2) - Cheltenham, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Unibet Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) - Haydock Park, Saturday, January 19, 2019
Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) - Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Unibet ambassador Nicky Henderson, who has won the Unibet Champion Hurdle a record seven times, commented: "I am absolutely thrilled Unibet is continuing sponsorship of the Unibet Champion Hurdle, not least because it has brought us a lot of luck since our association with them, and since they have sponsored the race.
"Hopefully, Buveur D'Air can complete the Unibet Champion Hurdle hat-trick to celebrate!
"Unibet continues to invest heavily in our sport, and its sponsorship of not just the Unibet Champion Hurdle, but other top races throughout the year, is much appreciated by us all."
Ed Nicholson, Unibet's Head of Racing Sponsorship and Communications, said: "This five-year deal demonstrates Unibet's commitment to racing.
"The Unibet Champion Hurdle is one of the iconic races of the year, but it is important to note that the championship hurdle is just one of five races which form the Unibet Road to Cheltenham.
"The Unibet Road to Cheltenham campaign provides us with a narrative for the entire Jump season and gives us opportunities to reach both new and existing audiences.
"We believe in a holistic marketing approach and sponsoring the top two-mile hurdle races of the season, whilst also having top trainers and jockeys such as Nicky Henderson, Jessica Harrington, Nico de Boinville and Adrian Heskin signed up as Unibet ambassadors, enables Unibet to dovetail marketing activities and utilise assets efficiently and effectively.
"It is a really exciting time to be involved with a sponsorship as high-profile as this and over such a relatively long period of time, and we look forward to working with Cheltenham and The Jockey Club over the next five years."
Carey Weeks, Regional Head of Partnerships for Cheltenham and Jockey Club Racecourses in the south west, declared: "Unibet's renewal of sponsorship of the Champion Hurdle, and the Road to Cheltenham highlights the Kindred Group's continued investment into the sport.
"This renewed partnership will continue to provide us with a strong platform for all parties to work together to promote such a high-profile series in the Jump calendar - and what a result it would be if the series culminated with Nicky Henderson winning the flagship for the third time in a row with Buveur D'Air in March."