Betfair Boost for King George
Everyone in horse racing knows that sponsorships are crucial to the major horse racing events, as purses are increased through monetary support. The Ascot Racecourse has always been home to some of the most prestigious horse racing events on the British racing calendar and as sponsorships come to an end, replacements need to be found. The one important racing event of July at the Ascot Racecourse, has always been the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Up until two years ago this race had been sponsored by De Beers for twenty years, but now, Betfair has stepped in with a contract of five years.
With Befair coming on board as a sponsor, Ascot Racecourse will finally be able to increase the purse of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. They will also be backing the Betfair Ascot Chase. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is an annual Grade 1 horse racing event for thoroughbred horses of the age of three and older. It is run over a distance of 2 414 meters. During De Beers’ sponsorship, it was known as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. For two years the race went without sponsorship and its purse has remained at £850,000. Duke of Marmalade won the event this year, and will be the last horse to receive this purse, because as of next year there will be £1 million to run for.
After renovation of their grandstand, finances for the coming year would have stretched pretty thin, and therefore, Betfair’s decision to sponsor their major racing event could not have come at a better time. Director of Betfair, Stephen Burn, expressed his enthusiasm in regard to the sponsorship, commenting: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Ascot on this ground-breaking agreement, especially as it will take us up to and beyond the course’s historic tercentenary in 2011.” He went on to say that together with the executive chief of Ascot Racecourse, they are hoping to increase the purse for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes to £1.5 million in the future. It is also anticipated that with the massive increase in purse money, more support for the race will be given by the horsemen and it will attract more quality horses. The dream of Ascot hosting a King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes race of seven figures is finally coming true.