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Thursday, June 14, 2001



LATEST WILLIAM HILL ANTE-POST PRICES




WILLIAM HILL TROPHY (York Saturday): 4-1 Polar Kingdom, 8-1 Nasmatt, Promised, 9-1 Type One, 10-1 Orientor, 14-1 Give Back Calais, Muja Farewell, Mujado, Rasoum, 16-1 Firework, Hamadeenah, John O'Groats, Up Tempo, 20-1 Armagnac, Cosmic Millennium, Proceed With Care, Ragamuffin, Samadilla, Vicious Dancer, 25-1 BAR

THE KING'S STAND STAKES: 9-2 Nuclear Debate, 6-1 Danehurst, 7-1 Dietrich, 8-1 Cassandra Go, 9-1 Tamarisk, 10-1 Bertolini, 12-1 Astonished, Bishops Court, Ishiguru, 14-1 Dananeyev, Imperial Beauty, Juniper, Kier Park, Superstar Leo, Vision Of Night, 16-1 Final Exam, Rudis Pet, 25-1 BAR

ST JAMES'S PALACE: 4-1 Black Minnaloushe, 9-2 Dandoun, 5-1 Noverre, 13-2 Clearing, 7-1 Malhub, Tambourlaine, Vahoramix, 9-1 Olden Times, 10-1 Minardi, Mozart, 12-1 No Excuse Needed, 14-1 West Order, 16-1 Keltos, King Charlemagne, Munir, 25-1 Beckett, Mugharreb, 50-1 Darwin,

ROYAL HUNT CUP: 5-1 Tough Speed, 7-1 Camberley, 8-1 Surprise Encounter, 12-1 Kirovski, 14-1 Nimello, 16-1 Border Subject, Calcutta, Soviet Flash, 20-1 Duck Row, Duke Of Modena, Man O'Mystery, Mastermind, Tillerman, 25-1 BAR

THE WOKINGHAM HCP: 8-1 Capricho, Seven No Trumps, 10-1 Deep Space, 12-1 Ellens Academy, Nice One Clare, 14-1 Misraah, 16-1 Candleriggs, Mitcham, Orientor, 20-1 Indian Spark, Tiger Royal, 25-1 BAR

KING GEORGE VI & QUEEN ELIZABETH DIAMOND STAKES: 7-2 Fantastic Light, 4-1 Kalanisi, 8-1 Golan, 10-1 Mutafaweq, Wellbeing, 12-1 Endless Hall, Millenary, (Others Upon Application)

LONDON CLUBS TROPHY (Top Jockey at Royal Ascot): 2-1 M Kinane, 9-4 L Dettori, 11-4 K Fallon, 10-1 Pat Eddery, 12-1 T Quinn, 14-1 R Hughes, 16-1 J Murtagh, 33-1 K Darley, D Holland, O Peslier, J Spencer, 40-1 BAR



HIGHCLERE THOROUGHBRED RACING ANNOUNCE THE RETIREMENT OF PETRUSHKA




Petrushka, last year's Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in Britain and Ireland, suffered a strain to her right fore tendon while competing in the Group 1 Vodafone Coronation Cup at Epsom on Friday, June 8, 2001, and a decision has been made to retire her from racing.

Harry Herbert, Managing Director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, owners of the filly, said: "This obviously explains her disappointing run in the Coronation Cup which was too bad to be true. It is a bitter blow, not only for her shareowners in Highclere's Library syndicate, but also for Sir Michael Stoute and his team who have done such a fantastic job in directing her racing career".


Petrushka, the four-year-old Unfuwain filly out of Ballet Shoes, proved herself to be an outstanding and versatile racehorse. She won her only race at two in great style at Leicester and showed her brilliance early on at three last year when winning the Group 3 Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket in scintillating fashion.

Her three consecutive Group 1 victories in 2000 came in the Kildangan Stud Irish Oaks at the Curragh, the Aston Upthorpe Yorkshire Oaks at York and the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp.


These were preceded with placings in the two British fillies' classics, the Sagitta 1000 Guineas and Vodafone Oaks at Epsom.

Herbert added: "Fillies like this don't come around very often and her race record speaks for itself. She looks sure to make a tremendous impact as a broodmare as she is not only a beautiful and correct filly to look at but she also boasts an outstanding pedigree being out of a half-sister to Spectrum and from the family of Millenary and Sun Princess".

Petrushka is now likely to be offered at either the Keeneland November Sales in Lexington, USA, or the Tattersalls December Sales in Newmarket, England.




PETER SAVILL'S SPEECH TO THE BHB AGM



In this very room twelve months ago, I outlined a vision for our industry which I was convinced would ensure a healthy financial future for British Racing.


It was a simple vision: an industry in control of its own destiny, pooling its rights across all platforms and all jurisdictions, working side-by-side with a united strategy, an industry agreed on how it should divide its income.


It was a vision which Government supported both by its comments following last year's AGM and by incorporating much of BHB's Future Funding Plan into the Home Office Consultation Paper.


It was a vision supported by the owners, trainers, breeders and stable lads, indeed by every member of the Industry Committee. It was a vision supported by the Jockey Club.


Today the vision, if not in tatters, is certainly blurred. We are now left to pick up the pieces and build a revised structure from the poor cards we have been dealt rather than having a new pack of cards and dealing them ourselves.


As you will have read in the papers this morning, the Go Racing deal is on the rocks. Whether it is actually dead in the water or marooned is up to Go Racing.


We have advised them of our data licensing policy and they have rejected it. They want a ten year licence for media rights; BHB is only willing to grant five.

They want a licence for future technologies and platforms despite attributing no value to those rights and putting no projections in their Business Plan; BHB's policy does not allow for use of its data in this way.


They want BHB to limit its price for data now to 1.5%; yet BHB has made it clear that it cannot establish a price until shortly before the Go Racing contract deadline of 30th June 2001, as I will explain later.


The standard terms under which BHB is willing to provide its data to Go Racing are clear and fair. The offer to Go Racing remains open, but the ball is firmly in their court.

During the past few months, you may have noticed that I have not expressed a view on the Go Racing contract, preferring to try to get it into a shape that I felt the Board could support. Those attempts appear to have failed and I would therefore like to outline my views in as fair a way as possible.


On the plus side, the Go Racing deal had good partners in Sky and Channel 4, guaranteed up front payments plus revenue shares, and a laudable desire to develop pari-mutuel betting as a meaningful alternative to fixed odds.


But there is no doubt that the downside was far greater.


There was no terrestrial coverage commitment from Channel 4. They refused to give it. Yet "guaranteed coverage" was supposedly the reason for the RCA recommending Go Racing over Carlton to its members in the first place.


The division of income was grossly unfair. The Go Racing partners were going to take over 70% of the money and give Racing less than 30% - a worse deal even than SIS.


The bundling of almost all rights into one deal for exclusive use for ten years was just as bad, for it would have prevented Racing from maintaining a competitive market for its product. I can perhaps make this point best by quoting from the Deutsche Bank statement on the Arena prospectus. It said "After years of successful operation, it will be difficult from a practical perspective to simply remove the Go Racing consortium in favour of another. In many ways we see this akin to the SIS contract with the racing industry for the provision of pictures to betting shops".


An even worse aspect of the deal was that the commercial replacement of the levy had already been damaged by the Go Racing deal, possibly to the tune of £250 million, because it cut right across Racing's strategy of selling pictures and data direct across all platforms and all jurisdictions.


I do not even think that the RCA selected the right partner in the first place. Not only were they offered more money by Carlton but they turned down a global interactive company who were prepared to pay 7% of turnover to racing rather than the 3% from Go Racing and were prepared to pay 4% of turnover on non-British racing where Go Racing were prepared to pay zero.

But it is the process by which this deal was developed that rankles. Those who had been granted the power by the racecourses to decide the actual way forward refused to include BHB in any discussions on media rights, yet they included BHB's rights in their negotiations, despite being told that they were not authorised to do so; they never asked BHB what it wanted for its rights but told bidders that they weren't worth more than 5% of the bid; they said they didn‘t believe in developing a strategy and were adamant they had to finalise the Go Racing deal before the Levy Replacement and the Future Funding Plan.


They thought Go Racing had nothing to do with Levy Replacement, ignoring the fact that the Go Racing deal was largely a betting rights deal rather than a media rights deal.


And when they recommended to the racecourses to sign the Go Racing deal they did so knowing that they had not analysed the Go Racing Business Plan, that the agreement transferred the cost of Go Racing's £62 million irrecoverable VAT to Racing and that it would be impossible to collect a commercial replacement for the levy on any of the Go Racing turnover because they had handed over pictures and data the very rights on which levy replacement were based to Go Racing. Regardless of whether the Go Racing deal was a good one or a bad one, the process by which the decisions have been made has been amateurish.


Is this what those who have invested billions in providing the raw material, without which racing could not exist, expect of its leaders? Is this what those whose livelihoods depend on racing deserve? Of course not.


Do those investors and contributors have a right to participate in the development of the right vision for racing? Of course they do.


The development of plans that impact the future financial structure of the industry must involve all those who invest in and contribute to British Racing. It is not acceptable for one sector of the industry to take the view that it owns the rights and to hell with everyone else. For there are no rights in this industry which have a penny's value without the contribution of the whole of the industry to the creation of their value.


But enough of the past and recriminations. We need to move on.


We have a choice within the industry. We can continue to point fingers, refuse to collaborate and become more sectional and increasingly insular. In short, we can take the view that racecourses and the rest of the industry are different species and we should go off and negotiate our rights entirely separately.


Or we can learn our lesson, shake hands and resolve to work together with a clean sheet of paper and get it right this time.


How should we go about this? Well, first we need to finalise an agreement within the industry along the lines of the Future Funding Plan which covers the structure and division of income. We are almost there now.


At the same time the two rights owners BHB and racecourses must sit down together with advisors to develop a strategy for the exploitation of our rights.


The strategy should identify the value of our rights and their correct packaging. We should then put together a tender document for each package detailing the length, terms and conditions of the contract. Just like the Premier League.


It is probable that we should be dividing our rights into four or five packages and awarding the rights to different bidders rather than bundling them into one package.


Will other companies be interested? Of course they will. I've already had three phone calls since late yesterday wanting to discuss the opportunities. We have an enormously appealing product and I am confident that we will generate more income than we would have under the Go Racing deal which was on the table. And I'm confident that we can do it with the whole industry behind it.


It is now time to pull this industry together as quickly as possible to ensure that it unites rather than fragments.

To this end, I shall be inviting the following groups to put forward a representative to sit on a Strategy Group that is truly representative of the whole industry:

From the racecourses one representative from each of the four main groupings the Terrestrial Rights Group, Arena, Northern and the independents.

From the owners one representative from the ROA and one representative from the major owners.

From the industry one representative from the Industry Committee and one from the TBA.

From the betting industry one representative from the Tote

These nine people will be joined by myself, Chris Reynolds, an appointee from each of the Jockey Club and RCA and appropriate advisors.


The purpose of this group will be to reach a consensus on the strategy for the industry. It will then be up to the representatives to keep their constituents informed and to get them to agree proposals.


I am hopeful that the industry will support this move to bring us all back together so we can start to make decisions that are developed and supported by each and every one of us.


I would like to move on now to talk about the other issues that confront us.


On the issue of establishing a price for the commercial replacement of the levy, we have commissioned the Henley Centre, the respected research organisation, to carry out a detailed analysis of the projected profitability of the betting industry after the abolition of General Betting Duty. We have also asked them to calculate the impact of different percentage payments to Racing on that profitability. There is no doubt that the betting industry will be substantially better off when gross profits tax replaces GBD and we believe that it is right that the benefit is shared with the racing industry which provides 70% of its turnover.


What we are particularly mindful of though is the impact of our pricing policy on small independent bookmakers who, although paying very little levy, bear the brunt of the charges by SIS for delivering the pictures to the betting shops. We want them to flourish under GPT as well as the big multiples.


We are determined to make sure that the commercial replacement for the levy falls upon the betting industry in a fair way and will therefore only establish a pricing policy when we have the benefit of the research we have commissioned and have had a further meeting with the Confederation of Bookmakers towards the end of June.


We have so far had two useful meetings with the betting industry, who accept that in a commercial environment, Racing is entitled to establish the pricing of its product, just as Racing accepts the right of any bookmaker to either reject the price or to challenge it.


The betting industry has made it clear that it would prefer to keep the levy if possible. This is not an option as far as Racing is concerned, nor does it appear to be Government's intention.


The betting industry has also challenged Racing's right to charge for its data by appealing the judgement BHB won in March in the High Court against William Hill for using BHB's data without a licence. Furthermore, it has complained to the OFT about the 1% licence fee.


Clearly BHB is being challenged to defend its rights in court. Therefore, BHB believes that the sooner the issues are considered and resolved by the competition authorities the better for all concerned.


We remain confident that we will prevail and are encouraged that Jens Gaster, the lawyer who drafted the EU directive on Database Rights, has published his view that the decision given in the BHB/William Hill case is (and I quote) "a very fine review of many if not all basic elements of database rights under the Directive".


I have throughout the last year kept the Government fully informed of all developments and, as recently as yesterday, advised them that I see no reason why they should not proceed with their plans for the abolition of the levy.


It is important to remember that our strategy for Racing is not dependent on the timing of the abolition of the levy. We are looking to charge the betting industry for our picture and data rights on a fair commercial basis from no later than May 2002. It is highly probable, with the appropriate safeguards, that we will allow payments made to Racing to be offset against the levy so that eventually the levy income will be zero and Racing will receive all its income direct.


This will allow a seamless transition from levy to commercial replacement and enable Government to keep its watchful eye on the process as it develops.


I am confident that Racing can stand on its own two feet, that it will generate not less than the income projected in the Future Funding Plan and that a commercial mechanism to replace the levy will be in place when the current SIS contract ends on 30 April 2002.


There is no doubt that we are making inexorable progress towards our goal of a healthy financial structure for British Racing based on commercial principles where we control our own destiny.

In the past 18 months, in addition to establishing the right to charge for our data, we have achieved our goals of persuading Government that the Levy should be abolished, that the Tote should be transferred to the ownership of Racing and that General Betting Duty should be replaced by a less onerous Gross Profits Tax. The much under-rated Financial Plan, which was the first to propose the introduction of Gross Profits Tax in 1998, has been vindicated in so many ways that even its initial critics must now acknowledge its validity.


There is still an enormous amount of work to be done. The timetable tightens daily and we need to accelerate at a time when the pedal is already flat to the boards.


Last year I offered a plan for unity, based on the pooling of rights. So far it has been rejected. Today I offer another plan for unity, this time based on the pooling of minds. If this plan is also rejected, there can indeed be no hope for this industry.


Maybe the machinations of the Go Racing contract will be a wake-up call that we must work together if we are to achieve these goals. If so, then the experiences of the past twelve months have not been wasted.


It would be good to think that we could not only control our own destiny but control our desire to press the self-destruct button every time we have an opportunity to restructure our financial future.




ROA PRESIDENT BACKS SAVILL PLAN TO SET UP MEDIA RIGHTS STRATEGY GROUP




The ROA President Sir Eric Parker has given his full backing to the idea that a fresh start should be made in structuring a new media rights and future funding package that the whole racing industry is able to support. The initiative was put forward in a keynote speech given by Peter Savill at today's BHB AGM and was made in the wake of the virtual collapse of the Go Racing deal.

"The key constituents of the racing industry must have a say in how their industry is administered and financed as we move into this new era," said Sir Eric. "I therefore applaud Peter's initiative in planning to set up a strategy group to produce the optimum financial structure.

"The strategy team idea is still in its infancy and there is still considerable discussion needed regarding its structure and terms of reference. However, after all the uncertainty of the past months, I sense there is now a real desire to start with a blank piece of paper, to forget all the recriminations and move forward as a truly united industry.


"One of the many problems with the Go Racing negotiations is that the BHB and the whole industry were starved of information, then told that we had to agree a deal in a hurry to meet various deadlines. We must not be rushed into making hasty decisions. I have always maintained that the deal with the bookmaking industry - the levy replacement - should come first. At least in the short to medium term this will continue to be by far racing's most important source of funding.

"It is being said the collapse of Go Racing will drive more small racecourses into the arms of GG-Media which would cut straight across levy replacement. That may or may not be the case but I would implore any racecourse that has been approached by GG not to act hastily. If GG adversely impacts on levy replacement then it will put racing's central funding in jeopardy and courses that gain now could end up much worse off as Basic Daily Rates, Fixture Incentives, etc are much reduced or disappear altogether.


"We have also been warned that if we lose Go Racing, there was a real danger we would lose Channel 4 coverage. The risk is obvious, but I find it difficult to believe that Channel 4 Racing would give up such an outstanding brand name, built up over many years, due to a fit of pique. Whatever the importance of Channel 4, the continuation of its coverage cannot be the guiding principle for the racing industry.

"The Go Racing dispute and its likely collapse has left the racing world with a deep wound. But lessons have hopefully been learnt and we must now endeavour to create a prosperous future for this great industry."



VAHORIMIX ADDED TO ST JAMES'S PALACE




The French-trained colt Vahorimix is the one supplementary entry for next Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.


On his latest appearance the Linamix colt finished runner-up to Godolphin's Noverre (who will also run in the St James's Palace) in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas).


Olivier Peslier is due to take the ride on the Andre Fabre-trained colt.


For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive


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