ONE of North Yorkshire’s most historic horse races is to be sponsored by a family business founded by a former jockey and trainer.

Thirsk Racecourse has announced that local independent bookmaker Vickers is the new sponsor of the Thirsk Hunt Cup.

First run in 1859, the £50,000 mile handicap is Thirsk’s most prestigious race and headlines the Thirsk Hunt Cup Coronation Celebration Raceday on Saturday, May 6.

Vickers was founded by former jockey and trainer Ian Vickers and is now managed by his daughter Jo Vickers. The Darlington-based bookmaker launched in 2020 and the online business has gone from strength to strength.

Alongside regular racecourse sponsorships, Vickers has a portfolio comprising four jockeys, headed by former Flat champion Paul Hanagan, who won the 2008 Thirsk Hunt Cup on Extraterrestrial.

Farhh is the best winner of the Thirsk Hunt Cup in recent years, taking the 2012 race by six lengths before a memorable Group 1 double the following year in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Erin Boswell, General Commercial Manager at Thirsk, said: “We have had a great working relationship with Vickers for a couple of years now and we’re thrilled to have them on board as sponsor of the Thirsk Hunt Cup. The race is always well supported, and the day is set to be a real celebration alongside the King’s Coronation.”

Jo Vickers, owner of Vickers, said: “We are delighted to grow our sponsorship portfolio with such a respected race at Thirsk. We are an independent, family-run business and supporting the industry is something we’re very passionate about. Racing is a big part of our foundations and we’re very excited to be part of the historic day.”