Randox signs five-year deal to sponsor Grand National
Co Antrim medical testing firm Randox Health is hoping to become a household name after agreeing a multi-million pound sponsorship deal with the Grand National.
The five-year deal - following in the footsteps of ginger beer brand Crabbie's, the current Grand National sponsor - also chimes with plans by the firm to open a chain of 50 clinics around the UK and Ireland.
The Crumlin-based firm, which has turnover of around £92m, is led by keen horseman Dr Peter FitzGerald, also chairman of the Killultagh, Old Rock and Chichester Hunt.
Randox exports its diagnostic kits to 145 countries around the world.
It will be hoping for the same level of brand exposure enjoyed by Craigavon-based Moy Park when it sponsored the World Cup in 2014 through a deal by its then parent, Marfrig.
Under the latest deal, Randox will be official healthcare partner of the Jockey Club, which runs many of British Racing's assets.
The Grand National at Aintree reaches a global TV audience of around 600 million people, with around nine million live viewers in the UK.
The three-day steeplechase festival, which takes place this year from April 7-9, attracts around 150,000 spectators.
Dr FitzGerald said the Grand National was a platform to raise awareness of preventatives healthcare. "We see this partnership as a natural fit, as both organisations invest heavily in the future and we aim to use our partnership to promote a positive lifestyle and to bring enjoyment to millions of people," he said.
"We care about people's health and this is the people's race."
He added that Crabbie's sponsorship would be a "hard act to follow". "We look forward to rising to the challenge and sharing our vision for Randox Health further once the 2016 Crabbie's Grand National has drawn to a close and our rights for the world's greatest race come into effect."
Belfast commercial law firm Tughans acted for Randox in negotiating the deal. John George Willis, head of its corporate department, said: "We were delighted to assist Randox with its contractual arrangements with the Jockey Club on this major sponsorship deal. It reflects Randox's ambitions to be a world leader in advanced preventative health screening."
John Baker, north west regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, which runs Aintree, said: "This is an incredibly exciting time to join forces with Randox because they are highly ambitious as a company and share our aspiration to promote the Grand National to the maximum number of people in the years ahead."
Randox says its approach to testing allows it to run hundreds of tests from one sample. The Randox group also includes subsidiary companies supporting forensic toxicology, food safety and veterinary care.
The business employs 1,400 people.