Cheltenham Racecourse has today announced that Pertemps Network is to renew sponsorship of the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle series for another three years.
The Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle takes place as the second race on St Patrick’s Thursday (March 14 in 2019) and is the culmination each season of the 22-race series which is sponsored in its entirety by Pertemps Network. Its one of the best horse racing betting markets of the festival and always produces a huge turnover.
Tim Watts, Lifetime President of Pertemps Network Group, said: “Our long history with The Festival has been a source of great pride for everyone associated with our business and it’s a relationship with plenty of life left in the legs! It gives me enormous pleasure to confirm our sponsorship will continue for a good few more years.”
In order to qualify for the Final at The Festival, horses must have finished in the first six of any of the 21 qualifiers which take place across the UK (15), as well as in Ireland (2) and France (4).
Presenting Percy, a leading contender for this year’s feature Grade 1 Bulmers Cheltenham Gold Cup, won the Grade 3 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in 2017.
It’s almost three decades since the Craughwell-based trainer first headed to the Cheltenham festival with a runner – Art Trail was still travelling well in the 1990 Supreme Novices Hurdle when suffering a fatal injury coming down the hill – but his ‘second coming’ has really caught the imagination of racing aficionados.
Not long after his maiden voyage to Cheltenham, Kelly was the toast of his local track when turning out both Natalies Fancy and No Tag to win the Guinness Galway Hurdle at big prices in the early nineties. He’s that long in the game.
The subsequent years saw Kelly remain one of the flagbearers for West of Ireland racing, but the pickings were relatively lean – until he burst back into the spotlight with Mall Dini at the 2016 Cheltenham festival. Owned by Philip Reynolds – son of the late Taoiseach Albert – and ridden by Davy Russell, the 14/1 chance stormed up the hill to claim the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle over three miles.