Authorised Betting Partners sample behind-the-scenes experience
In September, British Racing invited those Authorised Betting Partners (ABPs) who are currently making voluntary contributions to the sport, to enjoy a series of behind-the-scenes events across the country, as Tristan Wootton reports.
Senior representatives of ABPs attended yard visits in Lambourn, Middleham and Newmarket in the company of British Horseracing Authority (BHA) executives. The events followed a number of occasions where ABPs were invited to see the inner workings of the sport on racecourses as part of an ongoing trial to sample whether they believe that their customers would be interested in being provided with the opportunity to enjoy similar experiences and insights.
As Nick Rust outlined at the 50th Conference of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in Paris on Monday 3 October, British Racing has provided a number of benefits to ABPs in recognition of their commitment to contribute a fair return to the sport. The visits to Charlie Hills, Mark Johnston, Charlie Appleby and Juddmonte Farms offered ABPs a unique insight into the sport they have a mutually sustainable funding relationship with by making voluntary contributions to central Levy funding from their offshore businesses, and the sorts of unique experiences they may be able to offer their customers.
The principal industry-provided benefits received by ABPs include the use of a kitemark across assets, central promotion through media campaigns, discussions with Racing to amend the fixture criteria and access to an account manager resource within Racing.
Commercial entities in the sport also offer benefits to ABPs, at their discretion. These can include the ability to negotiate sponsorship or commercial marketing rights, preferential pricing structures with media rights holders, preferential rates for racecourse hospitality, access to Wi-Fi services, co-operative marketing and access to restricted areas on the racecourse.
Charlie and Philippa Hills provided representatives of 32red with a tour of the Faringdon Place yard, a stable steeped in history and currently home to a number of star performers. Accompanied by Kennet Valley Thoroughbred’s enthusiastic Racing Manager Sam Hoskins, the focus of attention was quite rightly on the syndicate’s sprinter Magical Memory, although Dutch Connection and his unraced half-sister also caught the eye. Juvenile colt Waqaas was in a playful mood – a fairytale story for his many breeders, who produced such a smart racehorse out of a moderate broodmare (pictured right, with 32red Chief Executive Ed Ware).
Bet365 and SkyBet attended a morning at Mark Johnston’s yard in the spectacular setting of Middleham. After a trip to the private gallops to watch a lot canter and gallop, Mark, accompanied by his son Charlie, showed ABPs the facilities at Park Farm, along with star performers such as Fire Fighting and Lumiere. It was plain to see that Lumiere was the apple of Mark’s eye and he said he was looking forward to seeing her full sister go through the ring at the forthcoming Tattersalls sales – she would go on to make a cool 550,000 guineas.
During the morning, Mark openly engaged with ABPs on betting coverage of Racing on TV, handicapping and even why he would not be using sea water in his new equine water walker. Charlie also provided an insight into how the team decided on where to declare their horses, and Nick Rust discussed the initiatives behind the 2017 Fixture List with the group.
ABPs 188BET, Matchbook, Betfair and BetStars were treated to a tour of Charlie Appleby’s impressive set-up at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket. The visit followed an early morning ‘pipe opener’ on Warren Hill, where strings trained by Roger Varian, William Haggas and Hugo Palmer were seen exercising.
Godolphin’s Jim Clarke provided ABPs with an insight into the meticulous morning routine at Moulton Paddocks and a look around the extensive yard. The colossal 80 metre equine swimming pool and the equine treadmill both took our breath in awe, as did the wide range of private gallops, painstakingly-maintained, offering the Appleby string a number of options for exercising (polytrack, woodchip and grass). Jim also revealed that the gallops were set on a former point-to-point track – his passion for Racing was clear to see and the ABP representatives present have tipped him for even greater things.
Having checked in on stable stars Hawkbill and Blue Point (and undoubtedly one for the future, Frontiersman, a Dubawi half-brother to Australia), we embarked on the final leg of the morning visits expertly coordinated by Discover Newmarket, to visit Banstead Manor Stud in nearby Cheveley. Sabine Bouard, a credit to Juddmonte Farms, told ABPs all about the fortunes of the magnificent Juddmonte stallions, both on the racecourse and in the breeding sheds.
The 20-year-old Dansili looked A1, whilst the exciting Kingman had clearly taken to his new career well and is keen on his food – like a lot of us! No trip could be complete without marvelling at superstar Frankel, who has made
such a promising start to his career at stud. As we all reached for our smartphones, Sabine said that Frankel could well be the most photographed stallion in the world.
We would like to thank the supportive horsemen for opening up their doors to ABPs and for being so engaging on a number of different subjects. Above all, we must also thank all of British Racing’s ABPs for their forward-thinking, partnership approach to British Racing. The sport is stronger when it is united and racing and betting can work in harmony to grow both industries.
Between now and the implementation of Levy replacement is a critical time for our sport, which faces a well-documented ‘Levy cliff’. The continued support of ABPs will be invaluable, helping the industry to navigate this difficult period and support prize money, integrity, welfare, staff development and training and the many livelihoods which are reliant on the sport, in a completely voluntary environment where offshore operators are not required by law to pay statutory Levy.
You can find out more about British Racing’s Authorised Betting Partner initiative here.