Coral Announced as Punchestown Gold Cup Sponsor
Punchestown racecourse has announced that leading bookmaker Coral are to be the new sponsors of the Punchestown Gold Cup in a deal that will see the prize fund increasing by €50,000 to a total of €250,000.
The newly titled Coral Punchestown Gold Cup is widely is the centre-piece of the annual five day Punchestown Festival.
The feature race on day two of the seasonal grand finale dates back to the 1960’s but has been run in its current format since 1999. A star-studded winners’ list includes subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Imperial Call, Kicking King and, more recently, Don Cossack in 2015.
Champion Trainer title-contender and previous winning trainer of the race, Gordon Elliott, welcomed the announcement, “we were lucky enough to win what is now the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup in 2015 with Don Cossack and it certainly rates up there as a career highlight so far. The race is always a target for us and hopefully we will have another shot at it this year!”
The 2016 winner Carlingford Lough, owned by J.P. McManus and trained by John Kiely in Waterford, provided Barry Geraghty with his fifth victory in the valuable race. Looking forward to this year’s renewal Geraghty said, “the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup has been a lucky race for me with five wins on five different horses for five different trainers and I’d be more than happy to make that six! Last year was particularly special as it was for my boss J.P. McManus and obviously we will try our best to hang on to the trophy for another year. A special mention to Coral who have made a big impact on the Irish racing scene and this sponsorship increasing the value back up to €250,000 ensures that the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup remains a season highlight.”
The Paul Nicholls trained Neptune Collonges remains the only back-to-back winner of the contest, while Planet of Sound, trained by Philip Hobbs, is the most recent British trained winner of the race in 2010. That could all change if 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree stays on course for what trainer Mark Bradstock says is his comeback target.
Simon Clare, PR Director at Coral said of his company’s decision to sponsor the Punchestown Gold Cup, “we are both proud and excited to be able to associate the Coral name with such a prestigious Irish jump race, and we are looking forward to working with the Punchestown team to promote this year’s contest, and those in years to come. The Punchestown Festival is one of the biggest betting weeks of the year and we are thrilled to be involved in it.”
Janet Creighton, Head of Sponsorship at Punchestown, “Coral first sampled the sponsorship experience at Punchestown on the final day of the 2016 festival and have returned this year as title sponsors at one of the most prestigious fixtures on the Irish sporting calendar. I certainly think that shows their commitment to Punchestown and indeed to Irish racing. We look forward to working alongside the Coral team to ensure delivery of a very rewarding sponsorship experience for them.”