Officials at Cheltenham are in “advanced discussions” with potential new sponsors for two Grade One races at the Festival in March.
With the prospect of no paying customers a real possibility for the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds, Jockey Club Racecourses, who own Cheltenham, now need to find new backers for two Grade One novice chases.
The Racing Post has pulled out of backing the Arkle Trophy, while insurance company RSA has ended their association with the three-mile novices’ chase, which they have sponsored since 1974.
Ian Renton, the Jockey Club’s regional director for Cheltenham and the South West, said: “I’d like to thank RSA and the Racing Post for the support they have shown for these two races and The Festival as a whole over so many years.
“It is understandable that a number of businesses are reassessing their future marketing and hospitality commitments in the current climate and, although we are naturally saddened to lose any longstanding partner, this provides a fantastic opportunity to become involved with a Grade One novice chase at The Festival.
“We are at advanced discussions with future partners for both races and look forward to announcing these in the coming months.”
Racing at Cheltenham will take place for the first time since last season’s Festival later this week, with the two-day Showcase Meeting getting under way behind closed doors on Friday.