The line-up of race sponsors at Irish Champions Weekend is expected to remain unscathed after the loss of Qipco, whch ended its backing of the Irish Champion Stakes at the two-day extravaganza in September.
Having come aboard for the inaugural meeting in 2014, Qipco had become synonymous with what has been an immensely successful concept.
The Racing Post has reported that the Qatar-based enterprise’s decision to discontinue its sponsorship of the €1.25 million Group 1 means the showpiece event is without a sponsor for 2020, but Ballyhane Stud’s Joe Foley, one of Irish Champions Weekend’s founders and still a committee member, believe the various other sponsorships are “good to go”.
“The most important thing is to get the meeting to take place, whether it is behind closed doors or not, and at the moment I am not aware of any issues with any other sponsors,” Foley said on Tuesday.
“We are good to go with everybody else. We have regular meetings of the Irish Champions Weekend committee, and both tracks have been in touch with each individual sponsor and will continue to do so. I’m involved with the EBF, we sponsor four races over that weekend and indeed the plan is to increase our contribution to Irish racing in order to get us over this tricky period.”
He added: “I think Irish Champions Weekend has shone a light on races like the Irish Champion Stakes which it possibly did not have to the same extent before and is now established as a big, big race.
“Indeed, two years ago I think it was the second-highest rated race in the world. It has always been an important and stallion-making race but given where we are with coronavirus it is going to be difficult to find a sponsor for 2020.”
- Racing Post