I’m old enough to remember the race known as the Schweppes Gold Trophy run at Newbury in February, I wasn’t a huge fan of it changing to become the Tote Gold Trophy but from next year its being run as the Betfair Hurdle. Am I alone in thinking this is just wrong?
It’s a sponsored handicap and it always has been. I’m always disgruntled when a traditional race name is rebranded for the sole sake of commercialism. Nevertheless, I’m ambivalent when it comes to one corporate sponsor taking over another.
In this instance, notwithstanding the fact that there’s already been a Betfair Hurdle and a series of qualifiers for some other Betfair hurdle, I’m fail to see the problem. I mean would you rather Betfair stumped up the cash so long as a competing entity was entitled to free advertising?
The Whitbread, as the first major sponsored race (I think) in this country would have been nice if the name had been retained in some capacity. Given that Whitbread no longer produce ale, it would hardly be much in the way of free advertising.
Personally the renaming of races, Newbury is a prime offender, such as the Fred Darling, John Porter and St Simon is more of an insult to our racing heritage. I know I am more than a little biased to racing’s halcyon days 1880 upto the first great unpleasantness, but it comes of spending too much time in the racing room of Newmarket Public Library.