Leopardstown racecourse have announced that the Irish Gold Cup will celebrate its 31st running in 2017 with a new sponsor. At a photocall with the 2015 and 2016 reigning champion, Carlingford Lough, jockey Mark Walsh and trainer John Kiely, Stan James announced its three year sponsorship of the Irish Gold Cup, commencing in February 2017.

The newly-named ‘Stan James Irish Gold Cup’ is one of the leading races on the Irish National Hunt calendar and over three decades it has produced racing superstars including Jodami, Beef Or Salmon and Florida Pearl. Jodami and Beef Or Salmon were three-time winners of the race while Florida Pearl holds the existing record of four victories. Jodami (1993) and Imperial Call (1996) won the double of the Irish Gold Cup and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same year. Carlingford Lough holds back-to-back victories of the €150,000 Grade 1 race and is aiming for a hat-trick in next year’s renewal on Sunday, February 12th, 2017.

Ed Nicholson, Head of Racing Marketing for Stan James: “We’re so excited to be working with Leopardstown on such an iconic race. Previous winners of the Stan James Irish Gold Cup reads like a ‘who’s who’ of jumps racing, and we’re privileged to sponsor such a prestigious event. It’s a race that resonates on both sides of the Irish Sea and one that links in well with our other racing sponsorships.”

Nicky Henderson, three-time British Jump racing Champion Trainer commented: “The Stan James Irish Gold Cup is one of the principal races of the entire season and as Stan James racing ambassador I am delighted they are sponsoring the race. We now have to find a horse to win it!”

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown commented: “I’m really excited to work with top-class brand Stan James, the new sponsor of the Irish Gold Cup. Over the past three decades the race has provided some fantastic racing memories for racegoers. Our combined aim is to ensure the Stan James Irish Gold Cup continues to showcase the competitiveness and the quality of racing in Ireland. As the only race day in Ireland with four Grade 1s on a single day, we will continue to make it one of the best day’s racing in Europe.”

The Irish Gold Cup: The Irish Gold Cup (run annually in early February) is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase open to horses over five years and older. It is run over a distance of 3 miles (4.82 kilometres) with seventeen jump fences. First run in 1987 as the Vincent O’Brien Irish Gold Cup, in 2017 it will celebrate the thirty-first running of the race.

Notable winners of this heritage race include Jodami (1993) and Imperial Call (1996), who secured Gold Cup Doubles at Leopardstown and Cheltenham. Michael Hourigan’s Beef Or Salmon and Peter Beaumount’s Jodami hold three wins of the race each, whilst Willie Mullins’ Florida Pearl holds the Gold Cup record of four victories. In 2004, Florida Pearl defied the odds by winning the race as a twelve-year-old. Champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins holds the trainer record for nine wins of the race; his last Gold Cup victory was in 2013 with Sir Des Champs.

The 2015 running of the race was memorable as Sir. A. P. McCoy, won his first Irish Gold Cup aboard Carlingford Lough on the very day after he announced his retirement from the sport. In 2017, the John Kiely trained, ten-year -old, Carlingford Lough is hoping to attempt three-in-a-row for the Irish Gold Cup.