Team chases must find their own funding for open classes this season following the loss of national sponsor Humberts estate agents.
Humberts has sponsored team chasing’s national open championship series for the past year, but went into administration in June.
In 2006, there were concerns about team chasing’s future when the previous national sponsor George Goring hung up his boots. But when Humberts took over in 2007 the future seemed assured.
Rosie Vestey, who sits on the Masters of Foxhounds Association’s team chase committee said : “We are pursuing national sponsorship, but for now events will have to find their own, local sponsors.
“Team chasers don’t really do it for the money anyway.”
Mrs Vestey said Humberts had donated a “substantial” sum to the committee to be split between all the open competitions. Prize-money varies at each event as it is topped up by each hunt.
The first open competition of the 2008 season was at the Atherstone last Sunday.
Entries secretary Genny Sherwin told H&H: “We were lucky enough to be able to ask the sponsors of the novice class to sponsor the open.”
And the organiser of Berkeley team chase on 5 October, Reg Hopkins, hopes teams will not be put off by the fact they can only offer half the prize-fund of last year.
“One of our subscribers, David Meek, is kindly sponsoring the open and we shall be paying £650 in prize-money,” said Mr Hopkins.
Last year with Humberts’ help the Berkeley offered a £1,250 prize-pot at the event.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (25 September, ’08)