Category: Horse Racing

Horse Racing News And Betting Tips

Jan 29

BHA express anger over Animal Aid bid to ‘exploit’ Many Clouds death

• BHA: ‘Their understanding of this incident is entirely without evidence’
• Henry de Bromhead strikes with Grade One double at Leopardstown

The British Horseracing Authority came out fighting on Sunday in an attempt to stop Animal Aid, a hardline animal rights group, exploiting the death of Many Clouds at Cheltenham on Saturday as part of its campaign to have racing banned.

Many Clouds, the 2015 Grand National winner, collapsed and died moments after securing a narrow win against Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase. The results of a post-mortem on the 10-year-old should be released this week, but Many Clouds is believed to have suffered either a heart attack or an internal haemorrhage.

Related: Many Clouds collapses and dies after beating Thistlecrack at Cheltenham

Related: Arrogate triumphs in Pegasus World Cup, world’s richest horse race

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/29/many-clouds-bha-animal-aid-henry-de-bromhead-cheltenham

Jan 22

BHA warns it could block King George switch from Kempton to Sandown

• Nick Rust says BHA must always ‘act in the best interests of the sport’
• Ruby Walsh says Yorkhill had ‘loads left in tank’ after Leopardstown win

Plans to switch the King George VI Chase from Kempton to Sandown would be permitted by the British Horseracing Authority only if it was “in the best interests of the sport”, Nick Rust, the BHA chief executive, warned on Sunday.

This month Jockey Club Racecourses announced that Kempton, which it owns, could be closed for housing redevelopment as early as 2021 – sparking fierce controversy throughout jumps racing. The Jockey Club said the historic King George race could be run instead at Sandown, which it also owns. Other races would be distributed within the organisation’s portfolio of tracks.

Related: Horse racing tips: Monday 23 January

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/22/bha-nick-rust-kempton-king-george-british-horseracing-authority-yorkhill-leopardstown

Jan 21

Second senior lawyer departs BHA in wake of Jim Best case

• BHA: no connection between Best case and departure of Hannah McLean
• BHA has lost two of the three most senior lawyers in its integrity department

A second senior lawyer has left the integrity department of racing’s ruling body in the wake of last year’s series of embarrassments related to the Jim Best case. Officials at the British Horseracing Authority say there is no connection between those travails and the departure of Hannah McLean, whose job title was “Head of Legal: Regulation”, in which role she led on prosecution and compliance matters.

However, the BHA declined to offer any on-the-record comment. Privately, an official suggested McLean has landed an excellent role elsewhere and her exit was regretted.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/21/second-senior-lawyer-departs-bha-in-wake-of-jim-best-case

Jan 17

Horse racing and betting industries representatives pledge to work together

• Key figures respond to government’s weekend levy announcement
• Ladbrokes PR director sounds conciliatory note over future plans

Representatives of horse racing and betting have suggested the two industries must make renewed efforts at working together, following the government’s decision about a levy replacement scheme, announced on Saturday. The sports minister, Tracey Crouch, ruled that betting operators should pay 10% of their gross racing profits to the sport, which will bring to an end the hotly debated Authorised Betting Partners initiative and leave the two sides with significantly less scope for dispute.

Racing officials expect the new regime will increase the sport’s income by as much as £30m per year on recent years, now that online betting with offshore firms is to be captured. But they hope the benefit may outstrip even such an impressive figure by restoring certainty of income, allowing for planned, long-term investment and instilling confidence in potential investors.

Related: Government announces long-awaited levy reform boost for racing

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/17/horse-racing-betting-industries-pledge-work-together-replacement-levy-scheme

Jan 14

Government announces long-awaited levy reform boost for racing

• New deal will net the sport 10% of bookies’ profits above £0.5m
• April start planned for scheme which will replace system from 1961

British racing has moved significantly closer to a stable, long-term funding regime after Tracey Crouch MP, the sports minister, confirmed on Friday that all betting operators, including online firms based offshore, will be required to return 10% of their gross profits from racing bets back to the sport from April this year.

As a result, racing can expect to receive about £90m per year in direct income from betting for at least the next seven years, and see an end to the almost annual disputes with bookmakers over a “fair” return from betting which have been a feature of the previous Levy system since its introduction in 1961.

Related: BHA remains confident of hitting £100m funding target after Levy reform

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/14/government-levy-reform-boost-horse-racing

Dec 24

How Hallam FC began Feast of Stephen’s glut of Christmas football

Since the first Boxing Day match 156 years ago, fans have gorged on festive servings of goals, none more so than in 1963 when Fulham beat Ipswich 10-1

When Hallam FC entertain Pontefract Collieries in the North Eastern Counties Football League Division One at Sandygate Road on Boxing Day, the club based in the Sheffield suburb of Crosspool will continue a tradition they helped start exactly 156 years ago. An offshoot of the local cricket club, Hallam FC are the world’s second oldest football team and were formed to provide opposition for nearby Sheffield FC. The sides clashed in football’s first Boxing Day fixture in 1860, with the hosts forced to call on extra bodies from the nearby hamlet of Stumperlowe to make up the numbers for a match that was won by the visitors, whose three years of extra experience clearly proved telling.

As they reflected on the action over a few snifters in The Plough, an adjacent watering hole that remained open until earlier this year, the supporters of both teams could have had little or no idea they had unwittingly drawn up a blueprint that would dictate the behaviour of millions of like-minded individuals of future generations courtesy of the peculiarly British tradition of scheduling football matches on each year’s Feast of Stephen.

Related: Thistlecrack and Cue Card to go head-to-head in Kempton’s King George

Related: Joy of Six: greatest Christmas matches

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/dec/24/hallam-fc-boxing-day-glut-football

Dec 22

Jim Best: ‘All the fun I’ve had over the years has been taken out of me’

Jim Best says he has been left demoralised and disillusioned by the BHA’s case against him and maintains his innocence despite last week’s guilty verdict

Lenient is a word that some have used to describe the punishment meted out to the racehorse trainer Jim Best following a decision last week that he had probably told a jockey to lose on two horses, for which his licence will be suspended until June. But the 36-year-old, who maintains his innocence, could hardly look less like a man who has been let off lightly as he discusses the toll taken on his business, his health and his family by the controversial case, which rumbled along for a year, thanks in large part to procedural blunders by the British Horseracing Authority.

Sympathy would be in extremely short supply for anyone who had done what the BHA’s disciplinary panel says Best has done. But Best insists he was stunned to learn that the panel had ruled against him, despite also finding that the only BHA witness, the jockey Paul John, had been untruthful and unreliable.

Related: Jim Best case ends amid bitterness and many questions pointing at BHA

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/22/jim-best-bha-verdict

Dec 22

British Horseracing Authority’s secrecy in Jim Best case proved costly | Chris Cook

Had the BHA got its way none of us would have any idea that a deal had been done in a case of one man’s word against another

As the Jim Best case breathes its last after a year of legal debate and as racing’s ruling body admits it has blown a six-figure sum through its failure to provide a demonstrably fair hearing at the first attempt, it is instructive to see the first concern for some people is the penalty given to the trainer. The British Horseracing Authority has lost a significant chunk of the sport’s money by persisting in an avoidable mistake and there are several worrying aspects to the way it has pursued this case, but the main irritant for several observers is that Best has not been immediately put out of business.

This just goes to show what a strong authoritarian streak runs through horse racing, its practitioners and its followers. It also suggests a failure to engage with some of the details revealed over the past eight months that indicate the respect for due process at the BHA is not all that it might be.

Related: Jim Best says BHA case has torn him to pieces after horse-stopping ban

Related: Jim Best decides not to appeal verdict of BHA disciplinary committee

Related: Jim Best: ‘All the fun I’ve had over the years has been taken out of me’

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/dec/22/british-horseracing-authority-jim-best-case

Dec 22

Jim Best says BHA case has torn him to pieces after horse-stopping ban

• Trainer says health and family affected after losing licence for six months
• Nick Rust says hearing verdict gives BHA mandate for tougher penalties

Jim Best has spoken for the first time about the effect of the long-running case pursued against him by racing’s ruling body which resulted in a decision last week that he must lose his licence for a six-month period. The Lewes-based trainer, whose case has exposed the British Horseracing Authority’s integrity practices to unprecedented scrutiny, said his health, his business and his family have all suffered during the year-long legal battles, which may yet result in the closure of his stable.

“The whole thing has been painful and agonising,” Best told the Guardian. “You get up each day and you’ve got the feeling as if someone’s died. I know it’s not that dramatic, it’s just how you feel. You just feel absolutely choked up and torn to pieces.”

Related: Jim Best: ‘All the fun I’ve had over the years has been taken out of me’

Related: Jim Best case ends amid bitterness and many questions pointing at BHA

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/22/jim-best-bha-case-ban-horse-stopping

Dec 20

Jim Best decides not to appeal verdict of BHA disciplinary committee

• Lewes-based trainer will not challenge six-month ban
• Harry Stewart-Moore: ‘Best is innocent of the charges against him’

The long-running saga of the British Horseracing Authority’s case against Jim Best appears to be at an end, following the Lewes trainer’s decision not to appeal against the verdict of a disciplinary panel delivered last week. Best loses his licence to train and will not be able to reapply for six months, that being the penalty handed to him after the panel decided he probably had told a jockey to stop two horses.

However, a statement from his solicitor, Harry Stewart-Moore, insisted this was anything but an admission of guilt and threw the spotlight back on the BHA, deriding its disciplinary process. Declining to appeal was, the lawyer said, a practical decision, borne of the recognition a six-month suspension should not mean the end of Best’s business, in sharp contrast to the outright ban of four years which was the original penalty after a hearing in February. That had to be quashed because of significant failings in the BHA’s process, resulting in a rehearing last month.

Related: Thistlecrack and Cue Card to go head-to-head in Kempton’s King George

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/20/jim-best-bha-disciplinary-committee-harry-stewart-moore

Dec 19

BHA bans Paul Gilligan for six months over Uttoxeter ‘flapping’ horse

• Unusual markings on 14-1 winner led to Irish trainer’s disqualification
• Gilligan case has echoes of that brought by BHA against trainer Jim Best

The Irish trainer Paul Gilligan has been disqualified from racing for six months for running a horse at Uttoxeter that had previously competed in an unlicensed “flapping” meeting in Ireland. The ban came after the rehearing of a disciplinary case that was initially heard by a panel that included the lawyer Matthew Lohn.

The penalty handed down on Monday is identical to that issued by the earlier hearing in March, which inquired into the running of a horse called Dubawi Phantom at Uttoxeter in June 2014. Dubawi Phantom was backed at long odds and ran out a cosy half-length winner of the race at 14-1.

Related: Jim Best case fallout may result in BHA reopening seven cases

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/19/bha-ban-paul-gilligan-uttoxeter-flapping-horse-racing

Dec 14

Panel tells BHA it needed clear rules to ban trainer Jim Best for longer

• Disciplinary body hamstrung by lack of guidelines
• Conditional jockey told to stop two horses in races

The independent disciplinary panel which decided that the trainer Jim Best had ordered Paul John, a conditional jockey, to stop two horses in races last December published the reasons for its imposition of a six-month suspension on the trainer on Wednesday , and suggested as it did so that if the British Horseracing Authority wished to see a sterner penalty for such a serious offence, it should amend its sentencing guidelines to reflect that.

However, its reasons did little to dispel widespread surprise that an offence which, in the panel’s own words, involved “dishonest practices” that “strike at the heart of racing’s integrity” had resulted in what appeared to many in the sport to be an extremely lenient penalty.

Related: Trainer Jim Best found guilty of ordering jockey to stop two horses

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/14/racing-trainer-jim-best-ban-bha-disciplinary-panel

Dec 12

Jim Best case ends amid bitterness and many questions pointing at BHA

• Trainer’s six-month suspension a rebuff to British Horseracing Authority
• Ten-month case has been costly – and not just in financial terms

After 10 angry months of finger-pointing and procedural irregularities, it is hard to know what a satisfying conclusion to the Jim Best case might have looked like, but the one reached on Monday is not it. There is no closure here, no revelation that all is known at last. Instead, there is bitterness on all sides.

Best has been found in breach of the rules, having always maintained his innocence. But his punishment will be nothing like as severe as the four-year ban set after the first hearing as part of a decision that was struck down in May. The revised six-month suspension is a rebuff to the British Horseracing Authority, which suggested a ban of up to six years here.

Related: Jim Best found guilty by BHA of telling jockey to stop two horses

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/12/jim-best-trainer-bhb-british-horse-racing-authority-bitterness-questions

Dec 12

Jim Best found guilty by BHA of telling jockey to stop two horses

• Trainer to lose licence for six months after ‘non-triers’ case
• BHA panel said of race videos: ‘These were both stopping rides’

Jim Best is once more facing a period out of racing after a disciplinary panel ruled the Lewes trainer had told a jockey to stop two horses last December, a finding that was first made against him in February and then quashed in May. However, Best still appears likely to have a future in the sport because the penalty meted out to him was dramatically shorter than at the original hearing, amounting to a six-month suspension rather than a four-year ban.

Related: Jim Best case ends amid bitterness and many questions pointing at BHA

Related: Panel insists Jim Best verdict must be revealed at BHA offices on Monday

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/12/jim-best-guilty-bha-stop-two-horses-non-triers-case-horse-racing

Dec 08

Graham Gibbons takes time out after Kempton urine-sample swap accusation

• All-weather championship leader had one ride at Wednesday fixture
• Stewards held inquiry following a report from the clerk of the scales

Graham Gibbons, the leading jockey on the all-weather circuit this winter, has agreed to stand himself down “with immediate, indefinite effect” pending an inquiry into an incident at Kempton Park on Wednesday evening when he is alleged to have swapped a urine sample with one provided by a fellow jockey, Callum Shepherd.

Gibbons, who has a record of offences and suspensions related to alcohol, and Shepherd, an apprentice rider, were among at least 10 jockeys randomly selected to provide a sample by a British Horseracing Authority drug-testing team.

Related: Graham Gibbons is back on Hoof It and in search of Group One redemption

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/08/graham-gibbons-accused-swapping-kempton-urine-sample

Dec 06

Panel insists Jim Best verdict must be revealed at BHA offices on Monday

• No precedent for calling back parties so long after hearing to be told verdict
• Clashes with 32Red media event to promote King George VI Chase

The verdict in the Jim Best rehearing is to be announced on Monday afternoon, more than a fortnight after closing arguments were presented by barristers for both sides. In a surprising development, the outcome is to be revealed at the offices of the British Horseracing Authority in the presence of all those involved and representatives of the media, rather than being posted online in the usual manner.

Related: Hennessy announces end for sponsorship of famous Newbury race

Related: Nicky Henderson hoping Cheltenham dry run will suit My Tent Or Yours

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/06/jim-best-verdict-bha-king-george-vi-chase