Ladbrokes' sponsorship of Cheltenham's World Hurdle ends

By Edward Obeng
Ladbrokes will not sponsor the World Hurdle at this year's Cheltenham Festival, with airline Ryanair stepping in as a replacement.

Ladbrokes was unable to continue its support for the event as it is not currently an Authorised Betting Partner (ABP) of the sport.

The British Horseracing Authority's ABP scheme sees bookmakers required to pay a portion of their digital profits on horseracing back to the sport.

Racetrack operators are encouraged to only accept new sponsorship deals with bookmakers who are part of the scheme.

Jockey Club Racecourses, the owner and operator of Cheltenham, has made it clear it will only agree deals with companies with an ABP standing, thus ending the World Hurdle's deal with Ladbrokes that has been in place since 2005.

Ian Renton, regional director of the south west region of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "I am delighted that Ryanair have agreed to sponsor this year's World Hurdle but would also like to thank Ladbrokes for their commitment to the race in previous years."

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, added: "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.”

Ladbrokes chief executive, Jim Mullen, previously criticised the ABP scheme, stating that it forced bookmakers and racing operators to take “deeper entrenched positions”.

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