Latest Whisky News - Isle of Skye Whisky to sponsor Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr Racecourse - 3rd March, 2010

03 March 2011, Ayr: Isle Of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky is the new sponsor of the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr Racecourse - the richest hurdle race in Scotland.

The £50,000 Grade 2 race is run on April 16, Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday, and has been sponsored since 1997 by Samsung Electronics.

The sponsorship is the latest stage in the brand development for Isle of Skye by its owners, Ian Macleod Distillers, which aims to raise the profile of the award-winning Blended Scotch throughout Scotland’s racecourses and beyond. As well as being the official whisky sponsor of the 2011 Scottish Racing ‘Trainers’ Championship’, Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky is the official whisky partner at all five Scottish racecourses - Ayr, Hamilton Park, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth.  Isle of Skye is also the proud sponsor of Scotland’s number one National hunt racehorse trainer, Lucinda Russell and her team at Arlary House Stables.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, brand owners of Isle of Skye commented: “We are delighted to be supporting the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr Racecourse. This is one of the most prestigious events in the racing calendar, built on values of tradition and excellence that sits very well with Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky.”

Alan Macdonald, Chairman of Ayr Racecourse, said : “The Scottish Champion Hurdle is one of the highlights of the National hunt season, not only in Scotland but in the UK. It has a great history and I am delighted to welcome Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky as sponsors of the race.

“Isle of Skye is not only a leading brand but also has a great association with racing and I feel this is a great fit. Everyone at Ayr Racecourse looks forward to working with the team at Isle of Skye to make this year's race one of the best ever.”

The Scottish Champion Hurdle was first run in 1966 when the winner was Blue Venom. It was awarded Grade 2 status in 1991 and was run on the opening day of the two day Scottish Grand National meeting until 1994 when it moved to the Saturday.

Previous winners include Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Captain Christy in 1973, Alderbrook in 1996 ( a year after winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham ) and Martin Pipe's Granville Again in 1992. Last year's winner was the Donald McCain trained Overturn ridden by Timmy Murphy.

Andy Turnell, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore have each ridden three winners of the race and  Tony McCoy, Jamie Osborne, Richard Johnson and Jonjo O'Neill have all tasted victory in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

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