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Down Royal is all set to hit new heights in 2020

 

Using their mettle: Down Royal chief executive Emma Meehan with Geoff Angus of Metcollect, the racecourse’s latest sponsorship signing for the Boxing Day fixture
Using their mettle: Down Royal chief executive Emma Meehan with Geoff Angus of Metcollect, the racecourse’s latest sponsorship signing for the Boxing Day fixture

By Robert Jones

Down Royal's new management is rounding off its first year in style by celebrating a 100 per cent success rate in race sponsorship.

Twelve fixtures and 84 races, featuring over 20 brand new sponsors, represent a significant milestone for the new team who only took over the reins at Down Royal in January.

At the helm is chief executive Emma Meehan. She said: "This year has been quite the journey. When we were handed the keys of Down Royal on January 1, we had a proverbial mountain to climb.

"We had nothing secured other than our own assurances to industry that we would maintain the status quo and prize money levels. We had no sponsors in place and could never have imagined that 11 months on, the future of Down Royal racecourse would be so bright.

"Without our sponsors, it would not be possible for us to put on such top-quality racing for our punters and we are grateful to each and every one of our partners for the role they have played in making 2019 such a success.

"There have been so many highlights, not least our two fantastic festival fixtures in June and November with a total of 20,000 people coming through the turnstiles over the four days of the events.

"Increasing Down Royal's investment in the November Festival and securing a three-year, six-figure deal with Ladbrokes meant that we were able to bring both the richest hurdle and National Hunt races to Northern Ireland - The WKD Hurdle and The Ladbrokes Grade 1 Champion Chase - quite a coup for us.

"As to the future, this is a new era for Down Royal and we have big plans for the racecourse. With a five-year investment strategy in the pipeline, the overarching objective is to provide memorable and sociable experiences for groups, businesses and sports people alike.

"We are heading into 2020 with gusto to make it an even bigger and better year for horse racing in Northern Ireland."

The final fixture on this year's racing calendar will take place on Boxing Day with Metcollect Limited joining the elite stable of Down Royal sponsors.

Metcollect, the largest cable recycler in Northern Ireland, will take on feature sponsorship of the December 26 meeting which includes The Metcollect Handicap Steeplechase.

Geoff Angus, managing director of Metcollect, said: "This is our first foray into horse racing sponsorship which will provide the team at Metcollect with the opportunity to promote our business to a diverse audience and at the same time be part of an extremely exciting sport.

"We're looking forward to a fantastic day out on Boxing Day and to building our relationship with Down Royal in 2020."

Founded in 2014, Metcollect are specialist recyclers supporting the plumbing, electrical and construction industries, buying and recycling copper, electrical cable and various general construction waste streams.

Currently servicing over 1,000 customers across Ireland, the company has plans to expand into Great Britain in 2020.

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