Plans have been revealed to launch a multi-million pound team horse racing series staged at some of the UK's leading racecourses in summer 2019.
Championship Horse Racing has unveiled 'The Series', a unique new racing competition in which 12 branded teams would compete over eight consecutive Thursdays at a different Group One racecourses around the country, in an early summer evening televised slot.
The concept is for each team to have a squad of 30 horses under the direction of leading trainers with four jockeys. Each raceday will have six handicaps, with all 48 races having prize money in excess of £100,000. The competition will operate on a points system, similar to F1 to determine the winners of the team and jockeys' championships.
Jeremy Wray, chief executive of Championship Horse Racing, said: "This is a fantastic chance for racing to lead the way in changing how people watch sport, both live and in terms of bite-size, interactive content. The viewers will become fans and engage with brands like never before, on a global scale. Furthermore, everyone in racing benefits, be they stable staff, owners or jockeys."
The Jockey Club is a keen supporter of The Series and has helped develop the idea. Simon Bazalgette, Jockey Club group chief executive, said: "The Jockey Club is all about the long-term health of British racing, so The Series is something that makes complete sense for us to support. Jeremy and his team are bringing a really far-thinking approach to the offer they're talking to market for brands to get involved. I hope that will result in a fantastic new competition launching next year that can excite existing and new fans alike and welcome some great new partners for our sport."
Leading trainer John Gosden said: "The Series is the most creative and positive racing sponsorship opportunity I have seen and I hope it will become a tremendous success."
Richard FitzGerald, chief executive of Racecourse Media Group, said: "The Series promises to be a compelling spectacle for viewers and has the potential to take racing to a whole new audience."
I am not sure what to make of it at this stage truth be told; The Shergar Cup is a bit of fun as a ‘team’ competition for a day but not something you can bet on with any seriousness.
Sentences such as ‘chance for racing to lead the way in changing how people watch sport, both live and in terms of bite-size, interactive content.’ and ‘viewers will become fans and engage with brands like never before, on a global scale.’ worry me and smack of the Marketing guys taking over. I won’t write this off just yet though and look forward to more details being released over the coming months but don't expect to see me wearing a 'branded' scarf showing my support for 'Team Lidl' or whoever anytime soon!