Racing: Barnett quits the National stage to take over Ascot

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Few tasks on the Turf can be as stimulating as the supervision of its most famous race, but Charles Barnett seems to have found one. Yesterday the Ascot Authority announced the recruitment of Barnett, managing director of Aintree since 1993, as its new chief executive.

Barnett, 58, is widely admired for his contribution to the unprecedented vigour of the Grand National meeting. As such, he is one of the few already familiar in the British sport who need not be intimidated by the prospect of taking over from Douglas Erskine-Crum, who himself introduced a refreshing regime at Ascot. He will start his new role in May, after a final National.

"Ascot is the best-known racecourse in the world," Barnett said. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with the team there to maintain and enhance this."

* Richard Guest has been fined £2,750 by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority in relation to criminal charges brought against him last November. The trainer and two employees were given two-year conditional discharges at Durham Magistrates' Court for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal in their care. What's A Filly was put down after developing a leg infection.