Ladbrokes ends sponsorship of Cheltenham World Hurdle
Ladbrokes has confirmed it is to step down as title sponsor of the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival UK annual horseracing event, as it is not currently an authorised betting partner (ABP) of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
In October, the BHA unveiled a strategy under which bookmakers in the UK that pay an agreed amount in levy contributions in respect of their digital operations, or have a commercial funding agreement in place, would attain ABP status.
Racetrack operators Arena Racing Company (ARC) and the Jockey Club said they would only enter into sponsorship deals with betting companies that had ABP status.
Cheltenham is owned and operated by Jockey Club Racecourses and is therefore covered by the sponsorship restrictions.
Ladbrokes, which had been title sponsor of the event since 2005, will step aside to allow Irish budget airline Ryanair to take over from this year’s race.
The bookmaker will also not operate from its two on-site betting shops at the racecourse during the Festival.
Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said: "We are very happy to step in to add the World Hurdle to our day's sponsorship, alongside the Ryanair Chase, and remain wholly supportive of the Jockey Club's stance with regard to Authorised Betting Partners which has led to this race becoming available for sponsorship this year.”
The change in sponsorship comes after Ladbrokes’ chief executive, Jim Mullen, hit out at the ABP scheme, stating that it is forcing racing and bookmakers to take “deeper entrenched positions”.