The trustees of Blenheim announced today (1 December) that a five-year contract had been awarded to the Jockey Club following a competitive tender process. The news follows British Eventing’s (BE) announcement on 14 August that BE would stop managing Blenheim, stating at the time that the cancellation of this year’s event owing to the pandemic had given the BE board the opportunity to “reassess the organisation structure of the event”.
The Oxfordshire fixture usually takes place in September across four days and includes a CCI4*-L, and a CCI4*-S for eight- and nine year-old horses.
Jockey club regional managing director Ian Renton said it was “truly a great honour” to be awarded the contract.
“We look forward to working closely with Blenheim Palace and BE to ensure the event has a fantastic future,” he said.
“As a company we welcome nearly four million people a year to events at our venues, and our team are excited to put on a fantastic show in keeping with the international prestige of both the horse trials and the palace itself.”
Mr Renton added that as Cheltenham, the home of jump racing, is just 40 miles away he is confident there are “economies of scale and cross-promotional opportunities” from the partnership.
“Overall we’re thrilled to be involved and thank Blenheim Palace and BE for placing their faith in us.”
BE chief executive Jude Matthews said Blenheim is a “key fixture” in the calendar, showcasing some of the “most talented horses and rider combinations in the world”.
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The Oxfordshire three-day event is the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, with British Eventing seeking to minimise its financial
“The event has been established over many successful years and we look forward to working with the Jockey Club to continue this development and to potentially bring our sport to a wider audience,” she said.
Blenheim Palace estates director Roy Cox said the international horse trials is one of the palace’s “most prestigious” events.
“We are delighted its future has been secured and have every confidence the Jockey Club, with its rich history and wealth of experience, working alongside BE, is the perfect combination to ensure this great event which contributes so much to the local area continues to thrive,” he said.
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