Bookmakers Stan James are to sponsor next year’s Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year deal includes sponsorship for three other major two-mile hurdle races on the run-up to the Champion Hurdle next March.

Stan James will also be sponsoring the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth at Newcastle in November, the Grade 2 International at Cheltenham in December and the Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock Park in January.

“This is great news for Cheltenham and for British racing as a whole at a commercially challenging time,” said Cheltenham’s managing director, Edward Gillespie.

“It has long been an ambition of ours to strengthen the narrative running through the Jump racing season and, having a single sponsor backing four of the most important two-mile hurdle races, will enable a continuity to the promotion of that category.

Denis Kelly, chief executive of Stan James, added: “We have always looked to support racing through key events and high-profile sponsorships so we are delighted to be backing The Stan James Champion Hurdle, the biggest and most valuable hurdle race of the entire season.

“We share the goal of the industry, through Racing For Change, to bring racing back into the public’s line of vision and I hope that our sponsorship of three of the races on ‘The Road to Cheltenham’ will help to achieve that aim.”