Martell Cognac will not renew its sponsorship of the world's most famous horse race. 2004 will be the last year of the current six-year agreement between Martell and Aintree Racecourse to sponsor the Grand National. The company has been sponsoring the three-day event since 1992.

Eric Benoist, international marketing director for the company, said: "Our priorities have changed in recent years and we are now working more closely with individual markets to refine and adapt Martell's international brand positioning to take account of local requirements and circumstances."

An announcement on future developments is expected in the coming months, while details of a new campaign in the US were revealed recently. "The Grand National has been an outstanding sponsorship," said Benoist. "We would like to record our gratitude to Aintree Racecourse for being such a willing partner."

Charles Barnett, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, paid tribute to Martell for their support. "We would like to record our huge gratitude, on behalf of ourselves and the racing industry in the UK, to Martell for their support and commitment," he said.

A replacement sponsor for the 2005 event is currently being sought.