Emirates has been confirmed as the major sponsor for endurance events at Euston Park this summer.
The airline is supporting rides of 80, 120 and 160km, on 28 May, 19 June and 13 August, which organisers hope will “attract a broad spread of leading international horses and riders”.
Nick Brooks-Ward, event director at The Hpower Group, said: “We are truly delighted that such a major global brand is supporting the 2016 endurance rides at Euston Park, and we hope the rides will become a regular fixture in the Endurance calendar.
“The backing of Emirates – which has a strong track record in major sporting event and equestrian sponsorship – will allow us to ensure that the competitors’ experience with us is a memorable one and we will also be able to provide great facilities for our spectators.
“I’m confident this summer will be a great platform to showcase endurance to both established and new audiences.”
H&H reported this month (news, 12 May) that sponsorship for the revived international Euston rides was due to be announced, and that it was rumoured to involve a UAE-related company.
Emirates is owned by the government of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai Equestrian Club cancelled the 2013 Euston season after the doping scandal which led to the eight-year ban of trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, leading to closer media scrutiny of Middle East endurance at the time.
Emirates’ UK vice-president Laurie Berryman said “We are delighted to be associated with the first of the new endurance rides at Euston Park.
“Great Britain has an outstanding track record of hosting world-leading endurance events. This summer’s rides promise to be a highlight in the endurance calendar and we are proud to play our part in making it happen.”
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A spokesman for Euston Park said the events will be run “in strict accordance” with the FEI’s best condition awards, and will feature “detailed and rigorous vet gates to ensure horse welfare is fully protected”.
He added that the courses will be designed to keep horse speeds to “an average of approximately 20kph”.
Endurance GB chairman John Hudson said: “Endurance GB is confident that with the support of such a strong brand as Emirates on board, the Euston Park rides will become flagship events for the global sport of endurance, showcasing best practice and the very best in horse welfare.”
For reactions to the sponsorship announcement, see Horse & Hound magazine (26 May).