AN HISTORIC Helmsley stud farm, once owned by racing legend Sir Henry Cecil, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Thirsk Racecourse.

Cliff Stud will back Thirsk's most prestigious race, the Hunt Cup, until at least 2021.

Clerk of the course, James Sanderson, said: "This deal will ensure that the Hunt Cup meeting will continue to be one of the most popular race days in the region and what is good for the racecourse is also good for the local economy.

"With their generous support, we will see the race's prize money grow to at least £50,000 by 2021."

The Hunt Cup next takes place on Saturday, May 4.