The remarkable anatomy and power of the steeplechaser is the inspiration behind the new winner’s trophy commissioned by the sponsor for Saturday’s £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury Racecourse.
After 60 years of being known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, Ladbrokes has reinvigorated one of the most iconic and popular contests of the Jump racing season with an injection of prize money and a new identity, reflected by the striking trophy that will be lifted by connections of the winner on Saturday, December 2.
The trophy is the work of Lee Simmons, an artist and designer who studied metalwork and silversmithing at university, and relishes the fusion of traditional silversmithing techniques with modern digital technology.
“The founding inspiration for the design of the trophy derives from the incredible anatomy of a racehorse and in particular of the structure of the lower leg of the horse, the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the weight and power of these athletic bodies.
“To capture the essence of the racehorse and in homage to them, an abstracted slender form of the lower portion of their legs holds up, in suspended animation, the winner’s silver plate that has at its heart an abstracted scene of a chase.
“The perpetual nature of this abstracted animated scene is synonymous with the never-ending endurance and commitment that is given by horse, jockey, trainer and owner, to accomplish racing’s greatest achievements.”
Simmons first worked with Ladbrokes when commissioned to create a distinctive trophy for the winning owner of the 2012 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster, part of a larger trophy designed by his former Sheffield Hallam University tutor Chris Knight, ho has in turn assisted in the creation of this trophy.
The design process for this trophy began some six months ago, with the traditional silversmithing processes involved being carried out, meaning that its construction could not be rushed.
“I was introduced to the racecourse’s CEO Julian Thick by Madeleine Lloyd-Webber, as I have also been working on an interesting commission for the Lloyd-Webbers at the Palladium in London and Julian had seen my portfolio,” explained Simmons.
“At the same time, I knew Mike Dillon from my previous work for Ladbrokes and so the two things came together when it came to being asked to design and create this trophy.
“I use a lot of 3D printing as part of the design process, and an example of that is the horseshoe shapes used on the main body of the trophy which were made in 3D printed form and then cast in bronze before eventually being created in silver.
“It is a trophy which has a natural affinity to being touched, to being handled and interacted with, which is akin to all of the great sporting trophies. They convey a sense of achievement in their presence and I hope people feel the same way about this trophy when they see it.”
Mike Dillon, Director of Public Relations for Ladbrokes, added:
“The new trophy is a fitting prize for such an iconic race which repeatedly produces superstar horses.”
The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival takes place on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December. To book tickets, visit www.newburyracecourse.co.uk