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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Ballymore resumes backing of Cheltenham novice hurdle

Mikael D'Haguenet (left) wins the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2009, the final year of the firm's sponsorship.
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A familiar name will return for the second day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival following the news that Ballymore Properties will be resuming their support for the opening 2m5f novice hurdle, won last season by Willoughby Court.

The Grade 1 event was run between 2007 and 2009 under the banner of Ballymore Properties, the firm founded by developer Sean Mulryan, since when it has been staged as the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle. 

The company will also support a series of feeder races at Cheltenham, Sandown and Warwick. 

"The ambition has always been to return to the sponsorship if possible and this has now been achieved with the help of Cheltenham Racecourse," said Mulryan.

"Ballymore has agreed to sponsor the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the festival for the next three years and we welcome them back as one of our supporters," said Carey Weeks, regional head of partnerships for Jockey Club Racecourses' South West division. 
"I would also like to thank Neptune Investment Management and its founder Robin Geffen for supporting the race between 2010 and 2017."

Barry Geraghty on his way to victory at Down Royal aboard Sean Mulryan's In Compliance
Mulryan's distinctive navy and yellow silks were carried to Grade 1 success by In Compliance and Forget The Past in Ireland, while Mid Dancer became France's leading chaser.

When the Irish banking and property sector suffered a huge financial hit at the end of the last decade, Mulryan was forced to abandon both race sponsorship and ownership and their return to Cheltenham caps a sizeable turnaround in the company's fortunes.

Ballymore Properties were reported to have exited from NAMA in December 2016, having repaid more than €3.2 million in gross debt to the Irish State's so called 'bad bank.' 

The company returned to race sponsorship in April with the backing of the €100,000 handicap hurdle run on the final day of the Punchestown festival. 

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The ambition has always been to return to the sponsorship if possible and this has now been achieved with the help of Cheltenham Racecourse

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