An historic Helmsley-based stud farm, once owned by horse racing legend Sir Henry Cecil, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Thirsk Racecourse to back Thirsk's most prestigious race, the Thirsk Hunt Cup, until at least 2021.
Set in 220 acres above Helmsley, Cliff Stud specialises in foaling, and with its immaculately maintained paddocks and accommodation it can accommodate up to 65 horses at any one time. The Stud also boasts two beautifully appointed holiday cottages, which are named after Cecil and his most famous horse, Frankel.
Yorkshire businessman Paul Sutherland, who acquired Cliff Stud in 2017, said: "Thirsk Racecourse and Cliff Stud both have a deep-rooted history in horse racing.
"The Hambleton district and surrounding area has an incredible racing heritage, with many thriving training yards.
"At Cliff Stud we place owners and trainers at the heart of our business and we are very proud to be sponsoring a local, historic and high-profile race such as the Thirsk Hunt Cup."
The Thirsk Hunt Cup began in 1859, with the intention of bringing together the country's leading hunters, with the very first winner taking home the princely sum of thirty sovereigns. These days the race is a very competitive Flat handicap contest over a distance of one mile. The next renewal, which has a total prize fund of £40,000, is on Saturday, May 4, 2019.
The best winner of the Thirsk Hunt Cup in recent years is Godolphin's Farhh, who captured the 2012 race by six lengths and went on to record two G1 successes in 2013 - the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Thirsk Racecourse's Clerk of the Course, James Sanderson, said: "The Thirsk Hunt Cup is Thirsk Racecourse's most famous race and so we are thrilled that Cliff Stud, a venue equally synonymous with Yorkshire racing, will be sponsoring the race for the next three years.
"With Cliff Stud's generous support, we will see the race's prize money grow to at least £50,000 by 2021.
"This deal will ensure that The Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup Meeting will continue to be one of the most popular race days in the region and what is good for the racecourse is also good to for the local economy, as we attract 55,000+ visitors a year.
"We are very grateful to Paul and all his team at Cliff Stud for their generous sponsorship."
Thirsk stages 16 days of competitive Flat racing in 2019, from the opening meeting on Saturday, April 16, until the season-finale on Monday, September 16.