Post finds Life tough

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The Independent Online
The stakes have been raised in the war for supremacy between the Sporting Life and the loss-making, Maktoum-subsidised Racing Post. And betting shops became the battle's new front line with yesterday's first publication of an edition tailor-made for shops, writes Ian Davies.

The Life - stealing a head start on the Post, which introduces its own broadsheet display edition on Monday - yesterday included a new section designed for betting shop walls.

Printed on one side only, the advertisement-free edition incorporates a layout of racecards and form produced for ease of use both for betting shop staff and the punter.

David Annatt, general manager of the Life, said: "We have gone live to get reaction so that any changes can be incorporated in the next edition on Monday.

"The betting shop market is never going to be as profitable again, but it's a market we can't afford to lose. For years the Life has been constrained, in producing a consumer edition, by the need to satisfy bookmaker customers.

``When we went to a second section last year we tried to cater for racegoers and bookmakers and fell between two stools. Now we have a bespoke product."

Michael Harris, the chief executive of the Post, claimed: "The Life has not been able to service the needs of bookmakers. We have produced something tailor-made for betting shops."