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New title sponsor for grassroots championships at Badminton, plus the latest partnership news


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  • Voltaire Design is to become the new title sponsor of British Eventing’s (BE) grassroots championships at Badminton Horse Trials in May 2022.

    The BE90 and BE100 championships will take place from 3-4 May, ahead of the CCI5* action at the Gloucestershire event.

    Science Supplements sponsored the 2019 championships and was set to sponsor the 2020 and 2021 editions, before Covid forced Badminton’s cancellation and the finals were relocated.

    The BE90 and BE100 finals will return to Badminton in 2022 and will be known as the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships.

    “We have very much enjoyed hosting the grassroots championships since 2010 and are very grateful to Voltaire Design for their support of this competition going forward,” said event director Jane Tuckwell.

    BE chief executive Helen West said the organisation is “extremely excited” about the championships’ returning to Badminton next spring.

    “Badminton is one of the pinnacles of the eventing calendar and the deep disappointment of not being able to enjoy the thrill of riding there has been heartfelt, not only by the five-star competitors, but also by those who have aspired to qualify for these prestigious grassroots championships,” she said.

    “We look forward to working with Voltaire Design and the team at Badminton to deliver a competition for all to remember in 2022.”

    Matt Tarrant, managing director of Voltaire Design UK and Ireland, added: “The effort, commitment and dedication shown by the grassroots competitors deserves the championships to be held in such an iconic venue.

    “Voltaire Design’s title sponsorship of the grassroots championships underlines our commitment not just to British Eventing and Badminton, but the grassroots competitors themselves who are so passionately committed to our sport.”

    British Equestrian

    British Equestrian has signed two major partnership agreements in recent weeks, with new contracts with Fairfax & Favor and Haygain.

    Fairfax & Favor is now kitting out Britain’s eventing, dressage, showjumping and para-dressage teams at their annual international championships with footwear and belts at the horse inspections.

    The 2021 dressage and eventing European Championships in Hagen and Avenches were the first events under the new agreement.

    “We are so proud to be partnering with British Equestrian and kitting out the riders and officials for the international championships,” said Fairfax & Favor co-founder Marcus Fairfax Fountaine.

    “As a brand with such strong equestrian roots, it’s the highest honour and we look forward to cheering them all on as they prepare for the World Championships next year.”

    Fairfax & Favor is also collaborating with British Equestrian on a supporters’ range, launching in 2022, with a percentage of sales from select products going towards supporting championship teams.

    The company has also raised close to £250,000 in the last five years for Breast Cancer Care. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and 100% of the profits from the limited edition range of pink Amira boots, tassels and boot socks will be donated to the charity.

    British Equestrian has also signed a “first partnership agreement of its kind” with hay steamer company Haygain.

    The agreement involves the World Class programme and senior teams, plus British Eventing and British Showjumping.

    The company’s support includes providing hay steamers for use by the British championship teams, which will be stored at the British Showjumping National Training Centre for the benefit of those training onsite.

    “Haygain is honoured to become an official partner of British Equestrian. This partnership builds on the long-time support of many British teams, most recently by providing Haygain hay steamers for all four squads in Tokyo,” said Haygain chief executive Edzo Wisman.

    “Our official partner status with British Equestrian encompasses British Eventing and British Showjumping, making it a perfect fit for Haygain because our products help horses in all disciplines, at all levels.”

    Mr Wisman added: “British horse owners’ belief launched our now worldwide success. We’re pleased to return the support as official partner of equestrian sport’s overall governing body, the jumping and eventing member bodies in Great Britain, along with those passionate about dressage and all of the three million other riders, vaulters and carriage drivers British Equestrian represents.”

    Cheltenham racecourse

    Hundreds of people who helped administer 190,000 Covid vaccines in the Cheltenham area are being welcomed to the racecourse’s first fixture of the 2021/22 season as guests of the Jockey Club.

    Around 1,200 people were involved in the vaccination effort at Cheltenham East Fire Station and the racecourse will welcome 780 of these as guests today, day two of the Showcase meeting (23 October). A race has also been named in their honour – the NHS Vaccinating Heroes Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle.

    “It’s wonderful to see everybody being recognised for the monumental effort that has gone into the hugely successful vaccination programme across Cheltenham this year, which has so far seen 190,000 vaccines given out across the area,” said Sarah Gallagher, clinical lead for the Cheltenham Covid vaccine team.

    “This has very much been a team effort with 1,200 staff involved in order to make this happen and we’re extremely grateful to the Jockey Club for rewarding all 780 people who are able to attend with what should be a wonderful day out at Cheltenham racecourse.”

    She added special thanks must also go to the team at Cheltenham East Fire Station, who have gone “above and beyond” to accommodate them, while still being an operational service themselves.

    “The guys there have been doing everything they can to make sure things run smoothly, including little things like re-routing their trucks and getting up early on the night shift to help out and we’re beyond grateful to Kev Adcock and his team for their support,” she said.

    Hy Equestrian

    The horse and rider product brand has welcomed five-star eventer Felicity Collins to its team of sponsored riders.

    “We are very excited to welcome Felicity as a sponsored rider,” said Rebecca Howsam, of Hy Equestrian.

    “She has shown some amazing form, particularly at Bicton CC5* [where she finished 10th] and we can’t wait to watch her perform at some of the top events in the world. Felicity will become a very valued member of team Hy Equestrian, where her feedback, alongside our other riders’, will be invaluable in developing our products.”

    INEOS Automotive

    The car manufacturer is the new title sponsor of point-to-pointing’s mixed open series.

    The deal provides nationwide backing of 16 mixed open races and the hunters’ chase final at Cheltenham in May.

    The three-year national partnership coincides with the launch of the British-designed INEOS Grenadier 4X4 in July 2022.

    Each race features a £1,000 prize money pot, with the first four in any of the sponsored races — plus the top two in any other mixed open contest — qualifying for the £10,000 INEOS Grenadier mixed open hunters’ chase final on 6 May.

    Somerset-based Will Biddick, seven-time winner of the men’s point-to-point jockey championship and who trains Britain’s top-rated hunter chaser Porlock Bay, said that it is “good to have a decent pot to aim at”.

    “It’s marvellous that such a big company is supporting the grass roots of horse racing,” he added.

    “Our first aim is to get Porlock to the Cheltenham Festival, but he had a light campaign last season, and a race like the INEOS Grenadier mixed open hunters’ chase in May could well become the next target.”

    Shropshire trainer Philip Rowley, who has won Cheltenham’s Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase three times, said: “Most sports need a bit of a lift after disruptions caused by Covid, and for a company like INEOS to come in is great news.

    “I’m hoping we have a horse good enough to run in the final and Salvatore might be the one. His owners are point-to-point people through and through, and he’s a horse who wants a bit of decent ground, which we should get at Cheltenham in May.”

    Gary Pearson, head of UK and MENA (Middle East and north Africa) at INEOS Automotive, said the desire to build a vehicle that meets the needs of those who live, work and play in the countryside has been “at the forefront of our ambitions since the early development stages of the Grenadier”.

    “Engineered to be a capable and reliable workhorse, it’s fitting that the Grenadier will be forming such strong ties with the Point-to-Point Authority, not only to provide financial support for the sport, but to also build stronger relationships with a community this vehicle has been designed for,” added Mr Pearson.

    Elite Equine

    The equine supplement brand has partnered with British Eventing to support the 2021/22 winter jump training series in a new venture for the company.

    “Elite Equine UK are very excited to be taking over the title sponsorship of the British Eventing jump training series this winter,” said Maxie Heppell, head of business development, Europe. “This marks our first step into the world of British Eventing, as we look to expand our reach across the different disciplines over the coming year. We look forward to meeting competitors across the country and joining the jump training journey this winter.”

    The Elite Equine Jump Training series starts in November, culminating in a championship at the end of February.

    In brief…

    British event rider Bubby Upton has signed a sponsorship deal with Chedington Equestrian, which will be known as her title sponsor.

    John Whitaker will be testing out the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE car in the coming months, as part of a new partnership with Stratston which was launched at the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour.

    Specialist insurance broker the Underwriting Exchange Ireland is supporting Riding for the Disabled Association of Ireland by committing to support its upcoming insurance premium over the next 12 months.

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