Cheltenham today announced that it is to honour legendary Festival bookmaker Freddie Williams, who passed away last year, by naming a race after him at this year’s Festival. The Freddie Williams Festival Plate will be the 2m 5f handicap chase run as the fifth race on Thursday’s card. With £90,000 in prize money, it is the joint most valuable handicap at The Festival in 2009.
Julie Williams, Freddie’s daughter, who will be standing in the betting ring in her own right for the first time this year, said: “This is a special honour for a very special man and the whole family is touched by Cheltenham ’s gesture. Dad loved The Festival and everything it stood for and this will give us some more great memories of his favourite meeting.”
Cheltenham’s Managing Director, Edward Gillespie, added: “Freddie was one of the people who helped define The Festival in modern times. His friendly battle with JP McManus was the highlight of the betting ring action each year and he certainly earned his nickname ‘Fearless’ by being prepared to back his own opinion against those of people with bulging pockets. The Festival will be a poorer place without him this year and we are delighted to be renaming the Festival Plate in his honour.