Novices’ chase at Cheltenham Festival to be sponsored by Big Buck’s owner Andy Stewart

Paul Nicholls has Silviniaco Conti and Al Ferof in good order ahead of the William Hill King George Chase on Boxing day. Pic: Courtesy Jockey Club Racecourses.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls trained Big Buck’s for owner Andy Stewart. Pic: Courtesy of Jockey Club Racecourses.

By Simon Jackson.

Leading racehorse owner Andy Stewart is extending his connection with Cheltenham Racecourse by sponsoring a race on the first day of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Stewart, possibly best known in racing circles as the owner of four-time Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner Big Buck’s who was retired last year, will sponsor the Listed novices’ handicap chase on Tuesday March 10.

The £60,000 race will be run as the CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase and takes place over an extended two and a half miles at 5.15pm.

Stewart is the majority shareholder in CHAPS Restaurants Barbados, which has three venues on the Caribbean island, and a representative of Cheltenham has said they are thrilled with the new deal.

“I am delighted that the novices’ handicap chase on the opening day of The Festival will be sponsored by CHAPS Restaurants Barbados,” Carey Buckler, regional sponsorship manager of Jockey Club Racecourses, said.

“The Stewart Family have sponsored at Cheltenham. It is great to welcome them back to the home of jump racing.”

Stewart added: “We love Cheltenham through and through and many of our restaurant staff will gather at our home in Barbados to watch the race on TV.

“We hope all the attendees and fans of the best sport in the world have fun over the four days.”

Stewart’s record breaking Big Buck’s was retired after finishing unplaced at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014.

The four-time World Hurdle winner had earlier broken the record for successive wins over obstacles when securing his 17th successive victory after landing the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in April 2012.

The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding then extended his unbeaten run to 18 with an emphatic victory in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury later that year, which proved to be his last victory.

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.