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New Holland backs a winner at Great Leighs


New Holland has sponsored one of the most important race days of the year at Great Leighs, the Essex racecourse.

The major international manufacturer of agricultural machinery backed all eight races in the Thoroughbred Open in September. It is an event that has established itself as a rare and useful opportunity for some of Europe’s best runners and riders to practice on the course’s all-weather track before the world famous Breeders’ Cup in California at the end of this month.

In fact, all of the races were broadcast live by satellite to the United States – so great was the American interest.

New Holland, which is part of the Fiat Group, has its UK factory in Basildon in Essex where it has already produced over 1.6 million machines. And being local to Great Leighs, New Holland has become closely involved in the racecourse, supplying it with tractors and machinery to maintain the famous all-weather track.

John Holmes, chairman of Great Leighs said: “I am delighted to have had New Holland’s sponsorship in the Thoroughbred Open. They are a global brand with Essex connections and have been associated with Great Leighs since its opening, so it is entirely appropriate that they were involved in such a key meeting for us and for the racing world.”

New Holland’s marketing director, Dick Spencer, said: “This sponsorship is a great fit for New Holland. Like the Thoroughbred Open, we are a global brand with deep roots in the local area. We already had a long-standing involvement with Great Leighs, providing tractors for their events, but it’s tremendous to be more deeply involved, especially in such a prestigious race meeting.”

Some of the world’s top rated horses were in the line-up for the eight New Holland sponsored races; with over 90 horses taking part overall.

The Great Leighs track gave them a chance to run on an all-weather track before they go to California for the world’s most valuable meeting; The Breeders Cup. Historically British horses particularly have not always fared well due to their inexperience on this surface, a surface that predominates in the USA.
John Holmes was mindful of this when designing Great Leighs’ one mile left-handed Polytrack circuit.  He says preparations for this meeting began a long time ago: “We have been putting the components for the Thoroughbred Open in place for some time; even the date was secured to coincide with the annual Breeders Cup Trials in the USA. I believe that the depth and quality of entry across all the races shows that the demand is there and that we have pitched this just right.”

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