Unibet take over Champion Hurdle sponsorship from Stan James
The Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham will have a new title sponsor from March, with Unibet taking over from stablemate Stan James.
Unibet will also take over sponsorship of seven races which make up the 'Road to Cheltenham', starting with the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on November 11 and taking in the Greatwood Hurdle, Morgiana Hurdle, Fighting Fifth Hurdle, the International at Cheltenham in December, the Christmas Hurdle and Haydock Park Champion Hurdle Trial.
Stan James, who became sponsor of the Champion Hurdle in 2010, were bought by Unibet's parent company – now called Kindred Group – in 2015.
The sponsorship move is part of Kindred Group's strategy to focus on the Unibet brand and migrate Stan James' customers to them. The company also owns 32Red, which they bought this year.
Kindred Group chief executive Henrik Tjarnstrom said: "Kindred is among the biggest supporters of races in the online gambling sector in the UK and Ireland in terms of number of races and prize-money.
"We feel that, unlike any other territory, the UK has a cultural connection to racing, and to betting on racing. As the UK is a key market in our long-term strategy we feel it's important to support and to be seen sponsoring some of the biggest races in the UK and Ireland."
Unibet will also sponsor the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February but 32Red will remain the sponsor of the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Kindred's head of racing communications and sponsorship Ed Nicholson said: ”Given our long-term growth plan it's important that Unibet and 32Red are visible on the racecourse when our customers, and potential new customers, are also highly engaged with the sport.
"This means associating our brands with the biggest races in the calendar and through mass media channels."
Kindred also have a number of the leading names in British and Irish racing signed up as ambassadors, and trainers Nicky Henderson and Richard Hannon are set to take up that role for Unibet rather than Stan James.