Cheltenham Festival 2012 

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Jardine Lloyd Thompson and William Hill 2012 Festival Sponsors

Cheltenham Racecourse today announced that Jardine Lloyd Thompson, the UK’s leading international risk specialists and employee benefits consultants, and William Hill, the leading betting and gaming company, will both be sponsoring races on the opening day of The Festival, Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

© Grossick Racing Photography

Diamond Harry

Jardine Lloyd Thompson will be sponsoring at The Festival for the first time, putting their name to the JLT Specialty Chase (A Handicap). This is the fiercely competitive open handicap chase, run over an extended three miles, which is the third race of the day.

Five winners of the JLT Specialty Chase have gone on to claim the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the latest being Charter Party in 1988 and it is a contest that almost always produces a thrilling finish. Indeed, Wichita Lineman’s last gasp victory in 2009 for owner J P McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill was nominated by multiple champion jockey A P McCoy as the best ride of his career - some accolade when he has over 3,000 to choose from.

Dominic Burke, Chief Executive of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, said: “We have been a sponsor at Cheltenham for the past four years, including at The Open from 2009 to 2011, but the chance to back a race at The Festival was too good to turn down.

“Everyone here is excited about the prospect of having an active role at the best Jump meeting in the world and I’m sure that the JLT Specialty Chase will be as competitive as ever.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with the Cheltenham team in recent years and this Festival sponsorship takes us to a new level, with the opportunity to promote our brand to a much wider audience.”

William Hill is one of the biggest betting operators in the world, taking more than £16 billion in stakes in 2010. The company sponsored at The Festival every year from 1998 to 2010, so will be making a welcome return to the event.

The William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the opening race of the meeting, signalling the moment when 12 months of waiting is over and The Festival is back. The extended two-mile contest has been won by a string of top horses over the years, including Bula, Brave Inca, L’Escargot and Noland. Last year’s winner, Al Ferof, is currently one of the favourites to win the two-mile Arkle Trophy Chase at the 2012 Festival.

Kate Miller, Head of Racing at William Hill, said: “We’re delighted to have signed another sponsorship with Cheltenham for one of National Hunt Racing’s finest events. The start to The Festival is one of the most anticipated moments of sport in the year, and we’re extremely proud to be sponsoring the opening act in the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.’’

Peter McNeile, Cheltenham’s Director of Sponsorship, said: “We are delighted and grateful that both Jardine Lloyd Thompson and William Hill are to become Festival sponsors, one for the first time and one returning after a short absence.

“They will, I’m sure, help to add to the unique atmosphere at The Festival and we look forward to longstanding ongoing relationships with two highly successful British-based businesses.”

William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle - the sponsors bet: 10-1 Steps To Freedom, Waaheb, 12-1 Sous Les Cieux,14-1 Galileo’s Choice, Prospect Wells, Simonsig, 16-1 Allure Of Illusion, 20-1 All The Aces, Cinders And Ashes, Colour Squadron, Dandino, Darlan, Molotov, Montbazon, 25-1 Tetlami, 33-1 Hazy Tom, Il Fenomeno, Midnight Game, Ted Spread, 40-1 Knight Pass (EW 1/4 1,2,3)

The Festival lasts for four days and in 2012 will take place from Tuesday, March 13 to Friday, March 16 inclusive.

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