QIPCO and Al Thani family extend their support for British racing

KING GEORGE GLORY -- jockey Johnny Murtagh celebrates victory on board Novellist in last year's King George at Ascot (PHOTO BY: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)
KING GEORGE GLORY -- jockey Johnny Murtagh celebrates victory on board Novellist in last year's King George at Ascot (PHOTO BY: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

Ascot has announced that big-money backers QIPCO have entered into a fresh five-year partnership with the racecourse.

And their support is headlined by sponsorship of one of the best races of the summer, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, staged towards the end of July and won last year by the exciting German raider, Novellist.

The arrangement will see the existing sponsors of QIPCO British Champions Day and the British Champions Series extend their portfolio of sponsorship in British racing to an unprecedented level of investment and commitment.

The £1 million King George, sponsored by QIPCO, will become the third seven-figure value race annually at Ascot under their backing, joining the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes and £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which are also supported by the company.

Breaking new ground, QIPCO, as an official partner at Ascot, will also enjoy annual branding rights across the Berkshire site, including at the royal meeting in June, with benefits such as stalls and stalls handlers’ branding for all six races on the opening day (Tuesday 17th June).

Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah Al Thani, director of QIPCO Holding, said: “My brothers and I are delighted to extend our relationship with Ascot through QIPCO’s sponsorship of the King George. The race is the defining midsummer middle-distance contest in Europe and, in recent years, it has become a truly international event.

“On account of the course being the home of QIPCO British Champions Day, together with the heritage and the quality of racing at the royal meeting, Ascot means a great deal to us, so it is a privilege for QIPCO Holding to become an official partner.

“The addition of the King George into QIPCO’s sponsorship portfolio works very well for us because not only is the race of the highest quality, but also the timing is excellent.

“QIPCO are already proud to sponsor the launch of the British Champions Series with the Guineas Festival at Newmarket in May, so the addition of the King George, together with the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, provides a perfect midsummer platform before culminating with the season’s finale and the most valuable day’s racing in Britain, QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.”

Charles Barnett, chief executive at Ascot, said: “We are delighted to be extending our already very strong relationship with QIPCO Holding and would like to extend our thanks, particularly to Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah Al Thani, for their continued patronage of and vision for British Racing.

“The Al Thani family has, in a very short period, changed the face of British Racing both as sponsors and owners, and they were instrumental in establishing the QIPCO British Champions Series and QIPCO British Champions Day.

“It is very exciting for us to be working with QIPCO Holding on the promotion of Europe’s midsummer all-age premier race, the King George, and we welcome them too as official partners.

“I would like to thank Betfair for their five-year sponsorship of the King George, during which time we have seen some tremendous performances and participation from horses from all over Europe and from Japan. I am particularly pleased that they will be remaining as sponsors of the Betfair Ascot Chase in February.”

Mark Ody, Betfair’s brand director, added: “We look forward to another great Betfair Ascot Chase in 2014 and a continued relationship with one of the most pioneering racecourses in the world. By offering customers in-running betting and Cash Out, Betfair is helping horserace betting evolve and compete with other sports to ensure it is as exciting as possible for punters and racegoers.”