Friday, December 20, 2013

Premier Information: Done in bid to resurrect racing at Great Leighs

Good to see that the Great Leighs race track may eventually get going. We reproduce the article below courtesy of the Racing Post.

BETFRED owner Fred Done is at the heart of a new attempt to resurrect the racecourse at Great Leighs.

Done, along with SIS and Bet Solutions International, the parent company of the course's betting partner Betsi Ltd, has formed a company that has taken on the Essex track.

The new owners, who hope to rename the course Chelmsford City Racecourse subject to permission, expect to be ready in time to enter the BHA's fixture application process for 2015 in the new year.

There is no grandstand at the track but planning permission in place, while the Polytrack surface is said to be in extremely good condition.

The new owners plan to offer at least £42,000 in prize-money per fixture, with some meetings offering more.

Betfred's director of racing Joe Scanlon has been appointed as racecourse chairman. He said: “I’m delighted that a new joint venture company has acquired the assets of Great Leighs and I look forward to working with our partners.

“The track is ideally placed for Newmarket’s training centre, while the surrounding area has a total catchment in excess of three million people.

“This is an exciting challenge and represents a significant investment. Working closely with the BHA we intend to deliver a high class programme of racing which can only be to the benefit of everyone involved in our wonderful sport.”

The news is the latest twist in the remarkable story of Great Leighs which became Britain's first new racecourse for 81 years when it opened in April 2008 but closed in January 2009 after it was announced the companies owning the racecourse had been put into administration.

The track has remained closed ever since despite the efforts of previous owners MC Racetracks, who had two subsequent applications for fixtures declined by the BHA.

MC Racetracks is no longer involved and the new owners said that neither is the course's founder and former owner John Holmes, who was last week arrested along with his partner Jill Turner and a second man over allegations of involvement in a £2.4 million VAT fraud.

All three have been released and bailed to report to their local police station on March 5 and 6 next year. They have not been charged and they deny the allegations.

If you would like to read more articles such as the one above, you can read up to date news on our Premier Information website, along with looking at some of the other blogs in the industry such as Brians Betting.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Premier Information: Heart Problem forces our old friend Binocular into retirement

The article below is reproduced courtesy of the Racing Post

BINOCULAR, winner of the 2010 Champion Hurdle, has been retired after he was diagnosed with a heart problem which trainer Nicky Henderson said went some way to explaining the nine-year-old's below-par performances last season.

The JP McManus-owned hurdler, last seen finishing 28 lengths behind Hurricane Fly in this year's Champion Hurdle in one of only two starts last term, had not returned to training this season while he underwent further veterinary examination in Ireland.

Henderson said: "Extensive tests have been done on him and it appears he has a heart issue that is not going away so the decision was taken to retire him. I think you would have to conclude that there was something underlying that we couldn't detect that would easily explain some of last season's performances."

Binocular won 11 of his 22 starts over hurdles, four at Grade 1 level including two victories in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Champion Hurdle in which he beat Khyber Kim. His last win came in the 2012 Kingwell Hurdle and he earned his connections £797,648 in prize-money.

"When he was right he was a very good horse, absolutely bang top class," Henderson added. "He won a Champion Hurdle and probably should have won three."

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Premier Information: Commentator turns Jockey

Channel 4 racing presenter Rishi Persad has agreed to take part in a charity race at Cheltenham.

The article below is reproduced by Premier Information courtesy of the Racing Post.

BROADCASTER Rishi Persad will have a starring role at the Cheltenham Festival after it was announced he will be one of 12 riders to take part in the St Patrick's Derby charity race on Thursday, March 13.

It is the fifth running of the 1m5f Flat race, which has raised more than £800,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Persad, a presenter for Channel 4, Racing UK and the BBC, will be joined by Nigel Roddis, development director at Great British Racing and Lucy Bridgwater, wife of trainer David.

Sophia Brudenell, communications manager at Cheltenham, said: "We had a huge number of entries for next year's St Patrick's Derby and it was therefore really difficult to pick the 12 chosen riders.

"We wanted to ensure that we have a mix of people riding from both the racing industry and those who ride either as a hobby or in another equine sport. People of all ages are participating and both sides of the Irish Sea are well represented.
"I really hope that next year's race will push the total amount of money raised by Cheltenham for Cancer Research UK to over £1 million, which would be an amazing feat in the five years of the partnership."

Frances Milner, director of supporter-led fundraising for Cancer Research UK, added: "We don't receive any government funding, so every step towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated. We wish all of the participants the best of luck and we look forward to welcoming them over the finish line."

The line-up is completed by Morgan Stanley banker Kieran Ryan, Dubai-based Sheikh Samir Mirdad, Emma Cook who works at Cheltenham, Michelle Turner, a director at Pertemps, point-to-point enthusiast Heather Kemp, Wexford trainer Bernadette Murphy, County Meath businessman Douglas Taylor, student Tom O'Neill and Cheltenham businesswoman Alexia Buckwell