Sunday, 17 July 2016



JMC:  Balance, timing,  hands this young man, or is this a young
woman? Has earned his, her own "true bloodhorse literate copyright
rating. But instead is trapped in a male Tory government bloodhorse illiterate
corrupt minimum / living wage scam.

Johnston sparks debate over TV betting coverage

TRAINER Mark Johnston stirred up a hornets' nest last week as he called on ITV to "get rid of all coverage of betting".

His plea was met with disdain by bookmakers, with one describing the remarks as "beyond laughable".

Johnston said: "They should get rid of all the coverage of betting. I totally understand the relationship between racing and betting, but the coverage is ridiculous and it's bad for both industries.

"You can watch hours of football coverage on television and never hear betting mentioned once, but millions of people do bet on football because they have an opinion on it. Racing's viewers are encouraged to listen to other people's opinions, tips basically."

Simon Clare of Coral pointed out that as the majority of viewers have either placed a bet, or intended to, the coverage had to reflect that.

"While ITV may look to present the betting element in a different way I'd be amazed if it doesn't form an important element of the coverage," he said.

"Mark's more general anti-bookmaker comments are quite perverse when you consider much of the prize-money his horses win comes from betting revenues to the sport, and without those betting revenues most of the races his horses take part in wouldn't even take place."

Levy Board prepares for future
The Levy Board's focus is moving increasingly towards leaving a strong structure in place for the body that is set to replace it next year, as the organisation last week laid its last annual report before parliament prior to the planned replacement of the levy system in the spring.

A fall in gross profit on horseracing in betting shops had been anticipated since a poor Cheltenham Festival for bookmakers, and the report revealed the overall effect to be a drop of nine per cent in 2015-16.

In March culture secretary John Whittingdale - who was last week replaced by Karen Bradley in Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle - announced the government planned to replace the levy system from April 1, 2017, with the government setting a rate, a slimmed-down Levy Board responsible only for collecting funds, and a new Racing Authority responsible for distributing the money.

In his statement in the report, Levy Board chairman Paul Lee said the most recent levy scheme "was at one level business as usual in the day-to-day operations of the board, notwithstanding that business was conducted against a background of proposed significant change".

Chief executive Alan Delmonte expanded upon that, saying: "It's business as usual at one level in the sense that the board is meeting to its usual timescale, it's talking about income, management accounts, capital loan repayments and 2017 fixture criteria.

"At the same time it is dealing with the impact of an announcement that says that on April 1, 2017 the organisation won't have any future role in distribution, it won't have any future role in rate setting.
"As time has progressed and continues to move on, the balance between those two is starting to edge towards the latter so the board and executive's focus is increasingly on landing the plane on March 31, 2017 so that it can be passed over to the Racing Authority and that the structure is left in a good place for others to take on."

Levy receipts in the 54th scheme, which ended on March 31, were £5.6 million, or nine per cent, lower than the previous year at £54.5m.

The fall in total revenues, to £70m from £72.5m, was not so great thanks to increased non-statutory income, while total expenditure of £78.1m, up from £76.5m, produced an overall deficit of £8.1m. A budget deficit of £12-£13m is expected for 2016-17.
At year end the Levy Board's reserves had fallen to £32.9m from £41m.

Playtech swoop for BGT
Earlier this year gambling software company Playtech said they were on the hunt for acquisitions and last week they made one as they swooped for Best Gaming Technology, buying a 90 per cent share in the self service betting terminal supplier for €138 million (approx £115.7m).
The remaining ten per cent is retained by BGT's founder and chief executive Armin Sageder who will remain with the company for at least three years from completion.

Self-service betting terminals are regarded as a growth area in the betting industry, providing
an online experience in the betting shop, and their importance was remarked upon by Ladbrokes and William Hill at their results announcements earlier this year.

BGT has provided around 24,000 terminals worldwide and its customers include Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral, Betfred, Paddy Power and smaller independents, although Hills are set to roll out their own proprietary SSBTs this year.

Playtech said that in addition to BGT's deals with bookmakers in the UK, the acquisition provided them with greater penetration into the Spanish and Italian markets.

Concerns over Irish on-course figures
On-course betting figures for Irish racing, which have been in decline in recent years, are continuing to drop according to Horse Racing Ireland's statistical summary for the first six months of 2016.
The figures published last week showed improved figures in many sectors of the industry but a decrease in overall on-course betting, Tote and bookmakers, of almost ten per cent to €36.1m with bookmaker betting showing the greater decrease, down from €34.7m to €31.3m.
While total betting with the Tote was up 29.6 per cent at €44.2m this was largely due to a significant increase in money from off-course pools, both in Ireland and from the international sector. The on-course Tote figures dropped by 5.9 per cent.

Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, said: "The continuing drop in on-course betting both with the Tote and the bookmakers continues to be a real worry, especially the bookmaker figures which again show the greater decrease."

Meanwhile BoyleSports have acquired four betting shops previously owned by Hacketts Bookmakers from the High Court-appointed liquidators Ken Tyrrell and Declan McDonald of PwC."

Ashforth's Angles: Fantastic Beverley four have us all on their side

"A LOT of people at Beverley will be hoping that one of four horses wins the sprint handicap (6.35). It doesn't matter if it's Maureb, Flicka's Boy, Thatcherite or Taffetta as long as one of the four that are trained by Tony Coyle wins. Their riders will be giving it their all.

The Jaimie Kerr Memorial Handicap is being run in memory of Coyle's partner and assistant, who died last October when only 38. Poignantly, on the day she died, Kerr's own horse Little Pippin won at Nottingham.

I didn't know Kerr and don't know Coyle, except from a distance when he was a jumps jockey in Ireland during the mid-1990s and subsequently in Britain. Five years ago Coyle launched himself as a trainer near Malton and has done well, winning 113 races on the Flat and over jumps. Kerr was clearly a big part of that.

Coyle said he hoped to arrange a memorial race to be run at Beverley because that was Kerr's favourite racecourse. Monday is the day.

It will have meant a lot to Coyle when Lily Rules finished second in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York two years ago and, in a different way, victory at Beverley would be special too.

The notorious Beverley draw has not been overly kind (perhaps those drawn 12, 13 and 14 will not have eaten up) but the stable's regular rider Barry McHugh has opted for Flicka's Boy, drawn eight of the 14. It looks the right choice. The four-year-old has run well on both appearances over course and distance, winning one of them, is in decent form and on a good looking handicap mark.

Taffetta, drawn ten, is also a course and distance winner with a reasonable chance, ditto Thatcherite, drawn 11, a dual course and distance winner who is now eight and for whom retirement beckoned. If he returned at his best he could be involved.

Maureb, despite winning at Carlisle last month and being drawn favourably, in stall three, seems an unlikely winner. The four-year-old has never run over shorter than a stiff six furlongs and her three wins have all been over seven. She will, however, be suited by the fast ground.

So go on Flicka's Boy, Taffetta, Thatcherite and Maureb. We'll all be urging you on. Well, apart from punters who have backed something else, obviously.

Another wish for the day. That one of Linda Perratt's three runners at Ayr - either Dark Crystal or Drinks For Losers in the 3.05 or Takahiro in the 3.40 - does the decent thing and ends a disappointing spell for the popular Scottish trainer.

Perratt's runners rarely venture south of the border and while North Yorkshire based Ruth Carr travels south more often only Foxtrot Knight ever appears at Windsor. It's no surprise that he's there again (7.50) because his three appearances over course and distance have yielded a win, a third place and, two weeks ago, a narrowly beaten second.

It's a competitive race but Foxtrot Knight is likely to be the proverbial thereabouts."

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