Vodafone has renewed its sponsorship of the Epson Derby (Eng-I) for three years and has an option for a two-year extension, the Racing Post reported Wednesday.The Newbury-based mobile phone operator first stepped in to support the English classic in 1995 when the race was declining in popularity. Efforts by United Racecourses and Vodafone reportedly put the race, which will be run June 8, back on its feet. United Racecourses owns and operates Epsom, Kempton Park, and Sandown Park racetracks."We are particularly pleased with the way the Derby has developed and prospered over the past few years, and the meeting gives us excellent exposure and media value," Vodafone's chief executive Sir Christopher Gent told the Racing Post. "Saturday is now well established as the big race day; the huge crowds are back on the Hill, and a new agreement with BBC television is in place."United Racecourses managing director Sue Ellen said she was delighted with the agreement because of the importance of an event like the Derby to have a sponsor of the calibre and status of Vodafone. "Competition has never been higher within the UK and throughout the world to present the best and most prestigious races, and Vodafone's sponsorship has helped us to do just that, as well as maintaining the prize fund of £1.2 million, the highest in British racing," Ellen told the Racing Post.
The &quot;Racing Post,&quot; Great Britain's daily racing paper, has been bought as expected by an Irish private equity investment firm, but the price of &#163;170 million ($340 million) is less than owner Trinity Mirror had hoped for.