Cheltenham Racecourse has announced that two of the biggest races at The Festival will be worth more than ever before in 2011. The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup reaches the milestone of £500,000 in total prize money (up from £475,000 in 2010), and the Ryanair Chase will be run for £260,000 (£250,000 in 2010). Both of these increases are largely due to additional input from the race sponsors.
Cheltenham’s Managing Director, Edward Gillespie, said: “The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most important race of our season, and we are delighted that it will become the first ever £1/2 million race run at Cheltenham.
“The race has been enthusiastically supported by the Tote since 1980 and, in that time, has produced some of the most memorable moments in Jump racing’s rich history. We are very grateful to totesport for their generosity.
“A further increase in the value of the Ryanair Chase is also terrific news, especially as this is a race that has blossomed under the Ryanair banner.”
Trevor Beaumont, Chief Executive of totesport, said: “We are thrilled to reach this historic prize money landmark for our most significant sponsorship. Our relationship with the team at Cheltenham is excellent and for us to be backing the first £1/2 million race at the home of Jump racing is something of which the totesport team is very proud.”
Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair, added: “Ryanair flies more people to The Festival than any other airline and we are delighted to support the Ryanair Chase, which continues to go from strength to strength. It is now firmly established as a major target at racing’s favourite meeting.”
Prize money at The Festival in 2011 will be £3.4m, an average of over £125,000 per race.
The Festival 2011 runs from Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18.