Sponsorship Horse Racing By Tony Kenny

William Hill sponsors The St Leger

William Hill agree three-year deal with ARC to sponsor the St Leger Festival including the world’s oldest Classic horserace

Today, William Hill announces it is the new sponsor of the St Leger Stakes, the world’s oldest Classic horserace.

The three-year deal with Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) sees William Hill sponsor the Group 1 St Leger Stakes, worth £700,000 this year, along with a feature race each day of the four-day festival which will be known as ‘The William Hill St Leger Festival’ and run from Wednesday 13 September to Saturday 16 September 2017.

Alongside the feature race, William Hill will sponsor the following races;

  • The William Hill Handicap on the opening day of the Festival (Wednesday);
  • The William Hill May Hill Stakes on Ladies’ Day (Thursday);
  • The William Hill Mallard Stakes on Gentlemen’s Day (Friday); and
  • The William Hill Portland Stakes on the finale, alongside the William Hill St Leger Stakes on the final day (Saturday).

In 2016, the St Leger Festival was attended by over 60,000 racegoers. In 2017, terrestrial coverage of the William Hill St Leger Stakes day will be on the ITV1 channel with coverage on ITV4 for Ladies’ Day and Gentlemen’s Day.

New St Leger Festival sponsor, William Hill was the first betting company to sponsor a major horserace in 1957.  Today, William Hill is sponsor of the Ayr Gold Cup, Great St. Wilfrid at Ripon and Scottish Super Sprint at Musselburgh and is also the broadcast sponsor for all of ITV’s horse racing coverage. 

William Hill CEO, Philip Bowcock, said: “William Hill is one of the best known brands in betting - with a long history of horseracing sponsorship.  We are delighted to sponsor the oldest classic and we will work closely with ARC to continue to build the profile and popularity of the William Hill St Leger Festival.”

Chief Executive of ARC, Martin Cruddace, said: “We are delighted William Hill have become the new sponsors of the St Leger. We really enjoy working with their team and look forward to extending this to our feature racing festival of the year. William Hill have the brand, vision and team to help build on the success of both the four-day festival and the feature race, the St Leger, which continues to be one of the most important races in the British Racing calendar.”

Executive Director of Doncaster Racecourse, Tim Banfield, said “The William Hill St Leger Festival is a wonderful four days of racing for Doncaster, the Yorkshire region and the whole of British Racing.  We aim to have a real and long-term partnership with all our sponsors and we look forward to integrating William Hill’s world-renowned brand into our feature event.  The team here are working hard on preparations for this year’s William Hill St Leger Festival and we are set on delivering another fantastic four days of racing.”

William Hill St Leger: (Sponsors bet) 5/1 Wings of Eagles, 8/1 Cliffs of Moher, 12/1 Coronet, 12/1 Crystal Ocean, 12/1 Mori, 12/1 Stradivarius, 14/1 Capri, 14/1 Khalidi, 14/1 Permian, 14/1 Atty Persse, 16/1 Mirage Dancer, 16/1 Count Octave, 20/1 Douglas Macarthur, 20/1 Sir John Lavery, 20/1 Yucatan, 25/1 Best Solution, 25/1 Glencadam Glory, 25/1 Venice Beach, 33/1 BAR (EW 1/5 Odds Place 1,2,3)

William Hill St Leger Specials
6/4 Aidan O’Brien to train the winner
9/2 John Gosden to train the winner
11/1 The record race time (3m 00.44secs) to be beaten – (Masked Marvel - 2011)
33/1 Widest winning distance (12 lengths) to be beaten - (Never Say Die - 1954)

Where will the winner be trained? 8/13 Great Britain, 11/8 Ireland, 14/1 Outside the GB/Ireland



For further information, please contact:

Ciaran O’Brien
Director of Corporate Communications
William Hill PLC
Office:  020 8 918 3609
Mobile: 07976 180173
Email: ciaran.obrien@williamhill.co.uk

Susannah Gill 
Director of External Affairs
Arena Racing Company
Office: 020 7802 5120
Mobile:  07751 870 929
Email: sgill@arenaracingcompany.co.uk 


About The William Hill St Leger Stakes
The William Hill St Leger holds a special place in history as the world’s oldest Classic. Named after local sportsman Anthony St Leger, who lived at Park Hill near Doncaster, and run over a distance in excess of a mile and three quarters, the great race dates back to 1776 and is considered to be the ultimate test of a three-year-old thoroughbred. Indeed, it has been graced by some of racing’s greatest champions through the centuries.

West Australian was the first horse to win the ‘Triple Crown’ in 1853 with victories in the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger. Nijinsky was the last horse to win the ‘Triple Crown’ in 1970 with Lester Piggott on board, enjoying one of his 8 victories in the race during his legendary career.

Seven years later a filly named Dunfermline etched her name in the record books by securing one of the most popular St Leger victories of all time. Ridden by Willie Carson, she rounded off her owner The Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in style, beating subsequent dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Alleged in a nail-biting finish.

In 1985, Oh So Sharp completed the fillies’ triple crown, adding the St Leger to her triumphs in the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks while User Friendly is the last filly to win the Classic when she won for Clive Brittain and George Duffield in 1992.  Until 2008, the St Leger was the only Classic to have eluded nine-time champion trainer Sir Michael Stoute who finally set the record straight when Conduit claimed the glory under Frankie Dettori.

Fellow Newmarket trainer John Gosden has enjoyed even greater success in the St Leger since the racecourse underwent its redevelopment in 2007. Lucarno became the first horse to gallop to glory in front of the new grandstand under Jimmy Fortune, before Arctic Cosmos in 2010 and Masked Marvel in 2011 supplemented Gosden’s 1996 triumph with Shantou.

In 2016 Harbour Law became the first horse trained by a female trainer when winning for Laura Mongan and ridden by George Baker winning his first Classic.

About William Hill PLC:
William Hill, The Home of Betting, is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing around 16,000 people. Founded in 1934, it is one of the UK's largest bookmakers with around 2,375 licensed betting offices that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events, gaming on machines and numbers-based products including lotteries.
The Group’s Online business (www.williamhill.com) is one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming businesses, providing customers with the opportunity to access William Hill's products online and via mobile devices and by telephone.
William Hill US was established in June 2012 and provides land-based and mobile sports betting services in Nevada, and is the exclusive risk manager for the State of Delaware’s sports lottery.
William Hill Australia is one of the largest online betting businesses in Australia, offering sports betting products online, via mobile devices and by telephone. William Hill PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The Group generates revenues of c£1.6bn a year.

About ARC:
Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is the largest racecourse operator in the UK. In 2017 ARC racecourses will host 540 fixtures with 1.2 million people attending racing at one of ARC’s racecourses each year.

ARC is made up of the following sixteen racecourses: Bath, Brighton, Chepstow, Doncaster, Ffos Las, Fontwell Park, Great Yarmouth, Hereford, Lingfield Park, Newcastle, Royal Windsor, Sedgefield, Southwell, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

ARC runs four of the six all-weather racecourses in the UK offering three different types of surface for horses to run on: Polytrack at Lingfield Park, fibresand at Southwell Racecourse and tapeta at Newcastle and Wolverhampton Racecourses – the only tapeta racing surfaces in Europe.

In 2013 ARC pioneered the All-Weather Championships which see horses compete throughout the winter for the chance of qualifying for a £1 million Finals Day on Good Friday at Lingfield Park. This initiative is helping raise the profile and prestige of all-weather racing in Great Britain.

ARC hosts racing at all levels of the sport from Class 7 through to Group 1s. Doncaster Racecourse is home to the world’s oldest Classic, the St Leger, run each year in September as part of the four-day St Leger Festival. Feature jumps races include the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle Racecourse, the Welsh National at Chepstow Racecourse and Midlands National at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

As well as racing, ARC also operates a hotel at Wolverhampton Racecourse, a hotel, spa resort and golf course at Lingfield Park and The Border Minstrel public house at Newcastle Racecourse in the grounds of Gosforth Park.

ARC is a significant shareholder in the horseracing TV channel At The Races which is broadcast on the Sky platform to c.14 million homes, and a JV partner with Racing UK in GBI Racing which sells UK and Irish Racing to betting shop operators around the world.

In 2015 ARC set up The Racing Partnership. This limited company represents the media rights of the 15 ARC owned-racecourses and the 7 independent racecourses Fakenham, Ffos Las, Hexham, Newton Abbot, Plumpton, Ripon and Towcester.

ARC plays a pivotal role in British Racing. It is a shareholder in British Champions Series and Racecourse Data Company; a signatory to a British Horseracing Authority’s and Horsemen’s Group Prize Money Agreement; and on the boards of the Racecourse Association (“RCA”), Great British Racing (“GBR”) and British Champion Series (“BCS”).

ARC employs over 500 permanent staff and engages with 3,500 casual staff for racing and events across its racecourses.  Further information about ARC can be found at www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk.