Q: Why did Boodles choose to sponsor at the Cheltenham Festival?

MW: We are passionate about horseracing.

Initially we got a box for 30 people on Gold Cup day, which we saw as a great way on entertaining. We took over sponsorship of the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle in 2017, previously known as the Fred Winter Hurdle, which is a high-profile handicap.

Then we had a very rare opportunity in January 2022 when Cheltenham were without a sponsor for the Gold Cup. Fortunately, we had just had quite a good Christmas and previous year, post-pandemic, so we said we would do it. We said we would keep the Juvenile Hurdle too.

After the success of last year’s Gold Cup we renewed the sponsorship for another two years, which is easily our biggest sponsorship deal.

We sponsor quite a few other things, including other races, Boodles Tennis and the Royal Ballet, Chelsea Flower Show, but this is easily our biggest sponsorship

Q: What are your main memories of your first visit to the Festival?

MW: My first visit to the Festival was the year that Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse and Monksfield ran against each other in the Champion Hurdle (1976). Night Nurse won that race, which to this day is regarded as one of the best editions of the race ever run.

Q: Do you feel that the Boodles brand received a lot more publicity being attached to such a prestigious race as the Gold Cup?

MW: Definitely. The majority of races are only followed by people who follow the sport, but the Cheltenham Gold Cup is mainstream.

We got amazing coverage on the news channels. You could really see the Boodles pink flags against the green and the Boodles finishing line. The Cheltenham crowd is a broad church of people but there are a lot of corporate guests who would be our sort of customers. It is a great place for us to be and be seen!

Q: Cheltenham is of huge interest to Irish racing fans and receives widespread media coverage. Has your store in Dublin’s Grafton Street seen any increase in footfall since you got involved in horseracing?

MW: Our Dublin store has done better in the last year, it’s doing really quite well. We have a cracking team there and it’s in a great location. It is so difficult to gauge the benefit of sponsorship but I do think it has put us more on the map in Ireland.

Q: What are the company’s main priorities for 2023?

MW: To cement what we have got, and to invest more in highly important jewellery.

Yes, we have sell things at £2,000 and £3,000 - and they are absolutely crucial for us - but we also sell things priced between £200,000 and £400,000, and we are going to have more offerings in that category.

We have just introduced a concept called ‘Six Star’. All of our staff have been on a Six Star training course over the last year. Everything in our company has to be Six Star. We thought and hoped it was before but, if it wasn’t, it certainly is going to be this year!

So one of our aims is to make every single touchpoint - be that the jewellery, the experience in the shops, the events we are associated with, the wine you drink when you get to the events – everything is going to be ‘Six Star’.

Q: Finally, with your new contacts in the racing world, are you a good person to ask for a tip at Cheltenham?

MW: Well, I’ve only had one bet at Cheltenham and it is on my own horse, Ga Law, to win the Ryanair Chase. He won the Paddy Power Chase there in November. This is not a tip, but he’s a decent horse. He’s currently 50/1 for the Ryanair.

He will run in the Ryanair as long as he recovers from a slight injury he received in a last fence fall at Doncaster in January.

I was hoping to see L’Homme Presse run in the Boodles Gold Cup but he’s now out of it, so I’ll probably side with Bravemansgame.

This article is taken from The Irish Field Cheltenham Magazine 2023. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY