Ladbrokes unveiled as new sponsors of King George VI Chase
The King George VI Chase – the most prestigious Grade 1 chase after the Cheltenham Gold Cup – will be sponsored by Ladbrokes after the bookmaker agreed a five-year deal to back Kempton's Boxing Day highlight.
The £250,000 three-mile chase, won last season by Clan Des Obeaux, has been sponsored for the last three years by 32Red, who took over sponsorship from William Hill in 2016.
The Ladbrokes deal also includes sponsorship of the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle, also run on December 26, and the Desert Orchid Chase staged the following day. It adds to the bookmaker's jump racing portfolio, which includes Newbury's Ladbrokes Trophy.
Simon Clare, Ladbrokes Coral PR director, said: "Ladbrokes has a long and proud history of sponsoring top-class horseracing and we are absolutely thrilled to be embarking on this exciting new sponsorship of the King George VI Chase and the two-day Christmas festival at Kempton.
"There are few races in the calendar that can boast the heritage and prestige of the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase and it is always one of the top-ten betting races in the year, making it a perfect fit for Ladbrokes."
The Kempton sponsorship, along with Coral's sponsorship of the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on December 27, gives the two GVC Holdings-owned firms a stranglehold on a crucial part of the racing calendar, something Clare said was a factor in the decision.
"It was absolutely one of the factors, it was a chance for the group to own such an important time – not just in the racing calendar but the sporting calendar," he said.
"That Christmas period is such a big sporting period and racing's terrestrial TV coverage of those two days is a massive part of it so there's no question it gives the Ladbrokes Coral group a chance to really own racing at such an important time of the year.
"They're two massive days. You have two days at Kempton and on the 27th you'll have Ladbrokes at Kempton and Coral at Chepstow, which is a great opportunity for us."
King George sponsors
Ladbrokes 2019 -
32Red 2016 to 2018
William Hill 2009 to 2015
Stan James 2004 to 2008
Pertemps 1996 to 2003
Tripleprint 1992 to 1995 (1995 renewal run in January 1996)
Should Jockey Club Racecourses successfully force through its plan to close Kempton and redevelop the land for housing the Ladbrokes sponsorship would move with the race to Sandown.
The King George has been won by some of racing's biggest stars, including Desert Orchid, who won the race four times, and Kauto Star, who memorably scored on five occasions.
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