Racing: Tote chief opposes BHB's bid

PETER JONES, the chairman of the Tote, yesterday urged the Government to sell the Tote to a trust representing a range of racing interests rather than handing it to the British Horse Racing Board. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, announced his intention of privatising the Tote in May, after Peter Savill, the BHB chairman, had called for the firm to be placed in the hands of the BHB in January. But Jones, speaking at the Tote Annual General Meeting at the Savoy Hotel in London, proposed the Tote be sold to a trust representing the Racecourse Association, BHB, Levy Board and Tote board.

Jones said: "While I support the BHB's aims to put racing on a sounder financial footing, these aims would not be advanced by placing the Tote under the control of BHB. The Tote is a commercial organisation and must remain focused on producing long-term profits. The BHB has no experience as a body of running commercial enterprises and its Board members have no history in the management of operations of the complexity of the Tote. BHB would have areas of conflict of interests. It would seem inequitable for a body which governs racing, and may shape conditions which affect the operations of bookmakers, to be operating a business which competes with those bookmakers. We propose the Tote be acquired by a trust, the shareholders of which would be drawn from a spread of interests. The shareholder trustees would not be responsible for the operation of the Tote, but would appoint a management board which would be answerable to the trustees and the industry. The BHB should have representation and we would welcome the benefits its association would bring. But we believe the Trust should reflect other interests from within the sport."

Jones also opposed an open market sell-off of the Tote. He said: "The Tote was set up for the benefit of racing. We asked Price Waterhouse to look at a Tote sell-off and they concluded the final destination of the Tote would be another bookmaking group. Racing's income stream would enjoy protection but not move upwards as demands of outside shareholders would take precedence."

Straw said the Home Office have not yet reached a decision on a method of sale. Straw said: "Nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out."

John Heaton, the Tote's chief executive, warned of the impact of the bookmaker Victor Chandler's off-shore operation. Heaton said: "It is hard to compete with a three per cent deduction when ours is nine per cent. It is inevitable punters who get a free phone call to ring Gibraltar will do so. The threat of Ladbroke and William Hill to move off-shore should not be taken lightly. "

Meanwhile, the BHB was unanimous on moves to resolve the fixture list issues for next year at yesterday's monthly meeting. The BHB agreed measures to produce a fixture list for 2000 next month.

n Indigenous, the champion racehorse of Hong Kong, has been cut to 20- 1 from 33-1 by William Hill for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot a week on Saturday after working well.

n Bill Haigh, the trainer, was fined pounds 1,500, Jenny Benson, the apprentice jockey, was suspended for 10 days (22-31July ) and Champagne N Dreams was banned for 40 days (from Friday) under the "non-triers' rule after the mare was seventh in the 4.45 at Beverley yesterday.

n General Cloney (8-1) won the Ulster Harp Derby at Down Royal yesterday.

n Compton Admiral, winner of the Eclipse Stakes, goes for the Juddmonte International at York next month.

Juddmonte International: Coral: 4-1 Royal Anthem, 5-1 Almutawakel, 7- 1 Xaar, 8-1 Compton Admiral, 10-1 Alborada, Chester House, 12-1 Dubai Millennium, Golden Snake, Kissogram, Saffron Walden, 16-1 Insatiable, Salford Express, Great Dane, 20-1 others

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own