OLBG extend Cheltenham Festival sponsorship
Last Updated: 22/07/14 12:32pm
Sports betting community OLBG have signed up to sponsor the Cheltenham Festival race for another five years and will continue their sponsorship of mares' events on the road to Cheltenham at Wetherby, Kempton, Ascot, Warwick and Doncaster.
OLBG's PR Representative Dean Goddard said: "This is fantastic news for our 50,000 members who will enjoy this wonderful journey with us.
"We'll continue to entertain many of them at the races through the series. Those unable to attend can enjoy following the OLBG Road to Cheltenham on television, with five of the races televised on Channel Four last season.
"The fact the race has now progressed to Grade One status as well has not only delighted all of us at OLBG, but also many owners and trainers of mares who truly appreciate all of our efforts."
Eight-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls, although not expecting to have a horse that can compete in the OLBG series this season, is certainly hopeful that will soon change.
"I have more mares in training now than I have done and am very keen to support this wonderful series," he said.
Alan King, on the other hand, already has a contender for the 2015 OLBG Mares Hurdle in L'Unique who finished third behind Quevega when contesting this year's renewal.
"We have kept L'Unique in training and she will remain over hurdles with the OLBG Mares' Hurdle her Festival target," said King.
"I've also recently just purchased a three-year-old Kayf Tara at the sales and topped the Derby sale for fillies when buying a Robin Des Champs half-sister to Raya Star for 110,000 euros. Both fillies will be trained for bumpers this season with the hope they'll progress into the type of mare that can run in the OLBG series."
Nicky Henderson is another trainer that has been busy spending money on mares at the Derby sales and was fulsome in his praise of the OLBG series.
"What wonderful news it is that OLBG are continuing to support mares' racing," he said.
"I have several mares that can run in the series with Polly Peachum and Mayfair Music two in particular that I'm hoping will have a fine season."
Highland Retreat won two OLBG-sponsored races last season and her trainer Harry Fry said: "The OLBG sponsored series are the races that we look to target our mares at, so much so, we are buying mares at the sales particularly with these races in mind."
Despite Quevega's retirement, Mullins may well have a prime candidate to for next year's OLBG Mares' Hurdle in Annie Power.
The six-year-old lost her unbeaten record when runner-up behind More Of That in last season's World Hurdle at the Festival and connections could be tempted to run her against her own sex next March now that the race has been promoted to Grade One status.