Hexham's loss is hard on bookmakers

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The abandonment of Monday's meeting at Hexham because of hard ground has provoked an angry reaction from the bookmakers William Hill.

The firm is upset that no replacement fixture has been organised, leaving betting-shop punters with only one afternoon card. The British Horseracing Board claims that arranging an extra card would have been impractical and has moved to extend the afternoon's remaining meeting at Nottingham instead.

William Hill's spokesman, Graham Sharpe, said: "The loss of one of only two meetings scheduled for Monday afternoon will cost our industry pounds 4m in betting turnover."

The BHB's racing director, Paul Greeves, explained: "We looked at switching the meeting, but the obvious alternative, Sedgefield, has building work going on, so they were not in a position to take the meeting."

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