The British Horseracing Board has today announced an agreement with Racing UK to sponsor the 2006/07 Order of Merit. The one-year deal will see the series become known as the Racing UK Order of Merit, which gets underway at Aintree this Sunday, 22nd October with the running of the Grade 2 bonusprint.com Old Roan Chase.
The title sponsorship agreement centres on delivering high profile media coverage and significant marketing opportunities to increase racegoer awareness and interest in the Racing UK Order of Merit.
Racing UK’s backing of the series will add a new dimension to one of Jump racing’s most valuable and prestigious prizes, with the introduction of a £20,000 jockeys’ prize.
Points will be allocated to jockeys’ performances, mirroring those awarded to horses filling the first six places in each of the 65 Racing UK Order of Merit races. The rider who has accumulated the most points at the end of the season will receive a cash prize of £10,000, with a further £10,000 presented to the charity of their choice.
The Racing UK Order of Merit carries prize money totalling £300,000 and is designed to reward owners, trainers and stable staff connected to the hurdlers and chasers who consistently perform at the top level.
Promoted jointly by the BHB and the sixteen Jump courses in Britain which host qualifying races, the initiative was launched in 2004. Since its inception, the Order of Merit has consistently delivered against its key objective of increasing field sizes in Jump racing’s non-novice Graded events, with over 75% of such races achieving 8 or more runners in the 2005/06 season.
Leading bookmaker, Coral, anticipates plenty of interest in the Racing UK Order of Merit top jockey award and has installed Ruby Walsh and Champion Jockey, Tony McCoy as joint favourites.
BHB Marketing Director Chris John said, “We are thrilled to have secured such a valuable sponsor who will be able to help us raise the profile of the series considerably. The addition of the jockeys’ prize will provide extra interest for those who like to follow the performances of the riders as well as the horses throughout the six months of the series.”
Simon Bazalgette, Executive Chairman of Racing UK said, “Quality Jump racing is an integral part of our programming, and as more than three quarters of the races which comprise the Order of Merit are scheduled to be shown live on Racing UK, we are pleased to be able to support the series with our sponsorship.”
David Stevens of Corals said, “The Racing UK Order Merit prize for top jockey is a terrific initiative, and will add an extra dimension to this Jump season. Although Tony McCoy dominates the traditional numerical Championship, Ruby Walsh has a host of top class rides to look forward to, and as a result we can’t split the pair in the betting.”
1. Racing UK Order of Merit Top Jockey (prices from Coral)
6-5 R Walsh, A P McCoy, 6-1 T Murphy, 9-1 R Johnson, 25-1 P Brennan, 33-1 R Thornton, 50-1 B Geraghty, G Lee, M Fitzgerald, T O’Brien, T Dobbin
Others on request
2. Racing UK Order of Merit (prices from Coral)
3-1 Black Jack Ketchum, 6-1 Kauto Star, 8-1 Mighty Man, 12-1 Voy Por Ustedes, 14-1 Straw Bear, 16-1 Celestial Gold, Detroit City, Monet’s Garden, Noble Request, Royal Shakespeare, 20-1 Arcalis, Monkerhostin, No Refuge, Star De Mohaison