Courses confident of finding new sponsors after Done pulls out
Racecourse groups representing many of the sport's major venues in Britain insist there is every reason to be optimistic that new sponsors can be found for a number of marquee races after Betfred pull out of racing in all but a couple of instances in July 2018.
Betfred boss Fred Done announced on Wednesday that the company would not be renewing any of its race sponsorships when they expire in July 2018, save for those at Chelmsford, which is owned by the company, and Ascot.
In addition, Betfred will close on-course betting shops at 49 courses, with their only remaining presences confined to the same two tracks.
Done said the move was in response to plans announced by the racecourse groups to set up their own pool betting operations on-course when the current Tote monopoly ends in 2018, although the company will honour the last nine months of all existing contracts.
Jockey Club Racecourses have a number of high-profile races that will require new backing at venues including Newmarket, Huntingdon, Haydock, Warwick and Sandown.
But they are unlikely to waste any time in searching out sponsors for a raft of high-profile races, including the autumn double of the Cambridgeshire and the Cesarewitch.
"We've valued Betfred’s sponsorships at our courses, as with all our partners, and will continue to do so for the duration of our partnership," said a spokesperson for JCR.
Asked if the group was confident new deals could be struck, the spokesperson added: "We demonstrated through the period of authorised betting partners, for example, that our sponsorship properties are popular and have value for all sorts of brands, including other betting operators."
Arena Racing Company will be looking for new sponsorship for the Midlands National at Uttoxeter and the November Handicap at Doncaster. Among the large independents, York has the Dante and the Ebor in its current portfolio with Betfred, while the big mile handicap at Glorious Goodwood will also need a new sponsor.
As far as on-course betting shops are concerned, Cheltenham currently has four of its six premises operated by Betfred, with one each for Star Sports and The Winning Post.
However, Jockey Club Racecourses' regional director for the south west, Ian Renton, expects all six to continue in one guise or another.
"Prior to Betfred coming on board with the Tote there were a number of other operators that we had," said Renton. "We now feel this creates an opportunity for other bookmakers to be on the course."
If you enjoyed this, you should read: