The sport of team chasing has a new title sponsor, Humberts, the national firm of chartered surveyors and estate agents, some 18 months after long-time backer the Goring Hotel concluded its sponsorship.

Humberts is to sponsor British national team chasing for the next three years. The substantial commitment will include sponsorship of 12 regional qualifiers beginning in September. The Humberts National Team Chase Champions will be crowned at the Fernie in Leicestershire on 30 March next year.

The hunt for a new sponsor began 18 months ago when George Goring and the Goring Hotel ended 15 years of support. Bitch Pack team member Rosie Vestey masterminded the search and Coombe Farm Wines covered the sponsorship of qualifiers for the 2006-2007 season.

She told H&H: “We need to up the ante with our sport and Humberts’ sponsorship allows us to do so. Competitors will benefit enormously and will see the standard of courses improve.”

Prize-money is destined to increase, though final figures are undecided.

Humberts’ sponsorship will also cover the introduction of an accumulator series, where open and intermediate teams will amass points throughout the season, culminating at the Cotswold event on 28 October.

This incentive should stimulate top teams to continue to attend events throughout the season, rather than saving their horses — once qualified — for the final. It should also encourage emerging teams, who are not the favourites for the national finals, to reach the top of the sport.

Tom French, rural director of Humberts and brother of Boring Gorings team stalwart Fred French, said: “Team chasing has developed into a thrilling national sport enjoyed by a broad base of competitors and spectators throughout the countryside.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (7 June, ’06)

“The synergy between Humberts and team chasing will be of great benefit to both parties.”