The Cheltenham Festival has received a massive boost this week with the news that the Champion Hurdle has found a new sponsor with a lucrative five-year deal signed with Stan James Bookmakers. Organisers have been looking for a new deal for the Champion Hurdle since Smurfit Kappa decided not to carry on their association with the race. As well as the Champion Hurdle, Stan James will also cover three of the warm-up races to the Champion Hurdle with the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, the International Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Champion Hurdle Trial at Newbury also in the package for the next five years.
The lucrative deal is a huge boost for racing as well as the Cheltenham Festival itself with the sport fighting to stay relevant in tough times, prize money has been dwindling in recent times so this well serve as a good tonic for the sport. In Racing For Change the Sport is looking to turn it fortunes around and this will be great news for them, with the Champion Hurdle being one of the highlights of the season for National Hunt punters and fans. It is sure to boost interest in the Champion Hurdle Odds for 2011 with Binocular the favourite to take the win once again, he was hugely impressive for Nicky Henderson when winning in 2010 and he is hard to ignore in the ante-post betting for 2011.