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Middle East firm raises horse racing’s prize money

QipcoMiddle East investment company Qipco has announced an extension to its sponsorship of British horse racing that aims to raise its profile alongside higher prize money.

The deal secures a partnership that will run until 2024 and represents a multi-million pound investment in the sport.

Qipco became title sponsors of British Champions Series in 2011. It starts at the Guineas Festival at Newmarket in May and culminates in Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot in late summer, the richest raceday in Britain worth £4 million. Since its launch, prize money across the 35 premier race series has increased by 50% to £17.4m in 2015.

Under the extended deal the value of both the Qipco sponsored 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Newmarket will increase to £500,000 each from next year and the ambition is to develop Qipco British Champions Day into a £5m raceday by 2024.

Qipco is private, family run investment company owned by six brothers, led by chief executive Sheikh Hamad Al Thani. Based in Doha, it has a wide range of subsidiary companies including Qatar Bloodstock and Qatar Racing.

Last year, the company became Ascot’s first Official Partner and that relationship has been extended this year to run until 2024.

The new deal gives Qipco two elevated days at Royal Ascot, with enhanced branding benefits. It will also enjoy annual branding and marketing rights, with a particular emphasis on the King George Weekend, where they sponsor the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes whose value increased this year to £1.15m.

Both deals are indicative of Qipco’s continued commitment to British Racing which accompanies its growing racing and breeding interests, as highlighted by a Deloitte report published today. The report draws together the wide range of investment in British Racing by Qipco and its related entities, from a grassroots level up, including £10m of capital investment, supporting 90 stud and stable staff jobs across the country.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani said: “We are privileged to have built an association with world renowned events such as Royal Ascot and British Champions Series, the very best of British racing. Our sponsorship of the sport has benefited our bloodstock operation and increased the company’s international profile. We are proud to support British racing and its wonderful heritage.”

Sheikh Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, chairman of Qatar Racing, a subsidiary of Qipco, added: “My brothers and I share a passion for thoroughbred racing, and British racing in particular. Nowhere else can match the quality and heritage of racing in Britain, which is why we chose to base our racing and breeding operations here.

“It is in our interests to promote the quality of British racing as the value of the horses we race and the stallions we stand is enhanced if they are competing in the country with the best racing in the world.”

Chris McFadden, chairman of British Champions Series commented: “We warmly welcome Qipco’s extended sponsorship of British Champions Series. Qipco’s long-term commitment reflects the significance of British racing in the world. The new sponsorship is good for maintaining the status of top-class races in Britain and continues to improve prize money.”

Rod Street, chief executive of British Champions Series added: “This is very positive for British Racing. British Champions Series seeks to promote some of the sport’s greatest assets and since Qipco’s involvement in 2011, we have seen a significant improvement in the investment in our top races and a big increase in prize money.

“Qipco’s commitment also enables us to promote the sport to a wider audience through the many initiatives led by the British Champions Series team. We look forward to working closely with Qipco to grow British Champions Series and British Champions Day even further.”

Guy Henderson, chief executive at Ascot, said: “We are very pleased that Qipco wish to extend their relationship with us as one of our partners.  Qipco is a significant supporter of British Racing and we extend our thanks for its long term commitment to Ascot.”

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