Bookmakers Chomping At The Bit To Be Back Racing

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BOOKMAKERS CHOMPING AT THE BIT TO BE BACK RACING

Bookmakers are over the moon with the return of racing in Britain on Wednesday afternoon, bringing to an end a six-day layoff, after the suspension of the sport had a big financial say on their profits.

Betting operator share prices dramatically plummeted last week following the news of the outbreak of equine flu, which would lead to a shutdown of the sport for almost a week, and cancellation of big preparation fixtures for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival such as the Betfair Hurdle Card at Newbury.

With the big races set to be rearranged this weekend, Ladbrokes Coral PR director Simon Clare was the first to welcome the good news.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "It's very good news. I think the BHA has handled the situation very well and communicated extremely effectively throughout the six days.

"The most important thing was to ensure the welfare issue could be properly assessed but at the same time, given the importance of keeping the show on the road, getting racing back up and running at the earliest opportunity.

"We hope we can get back to the build-up to Cheltenham and the spring festivals without a further hitch.

"There's a financial cost when you lose six days of racing but it's the time of year when we do budget for a certain amount of weather impact, and actually we've had a less impacted winter than in a normal year. So to some extent this brief hitch can be offset against an average year of bad weather."

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said his bookie had also felt the effects of the shutdown, but could thankfully rely on other revenue streams to bring the money in.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "We missed a fantastic weekend's racing and a lot of people who would have bet on course and off course didn't appear.

"That said, international racing last weekend was pretty good and our margins were excellent.

"We're excited quite a few of the big races are back on, so we're expecting to see a jump in turnover this weekend over the equivalent last year.

"Everyone is excited racing's back and we just have to see what's happened as it's been like a couple of days of the Beast from the East," he said.

Betfred's Mark Pearson added: "We're delighted racing is back, especially with the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner.

So with racing set to resume on Wednesday afternoon, there are five cards to look forward to in Britain and Ireland.

Southwell's six race All-weather card gets us back underway at two o'clock, with jumping at Plumpton and Musselburgh kicking off ten and twenty minutes later respectively.

There are seven races live from Fairyhouse beginning just after half past one, before Kempton completes proceedings with another seven race card, this time on the All-weather at twilight this evening.

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