Ryanair will continue as the title sponsor of the Grade 1 marquee chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival after announcing a fresh five-year commitment.
The total prize fund for March’s two-mile five-furlong Ryanair Chase will rise from £300,000 to £350,000. Ryanair has also pledged to hike the purse to £400,000 by the end of the new deal in 2022.
“We are pleased to extend our sponsorship of the Ryanair Chase for a further five years as Cheltenham is the major jumps festival which enables Ryanair to carry tens of thousands of Irish jump racing fans to and from the Cotswolds each March,” said the airline’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.
“Ryanair is an enormous supporter of the bloodstock industry in Ireland and the UK as we fly to most of the major racecourses, breeding and sales centres in Aintree, Cheltenham, Newmarket and Doncaster.”
Last year, the only races at the festival worth £400,000 or more were the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and Unibet Champion Hurdle. As of this year, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase will be worth £400,000, so the commitment to take the Ryanair Chase to that level catapults it into the top tier.
The old Cathcart Chase evolved into the Daily Telegraph Trophy when the festival added a fourth day in 2005, with Ryanair taking on title sponsorship for a first time in 2006 with event becoming Grade 1 two years later.