Legendary layer David Power’s pitches sold at auction
The winding down process that will end with David Power retiring from the betting industry is more or less complete after the legendary bookmaker’s pitches at tracks such as Leopardstown, the Curragh and Galway were auctioned off this week.
Many of the positions held premium status, the most valuable being Leopardstown, which was knocked down to Kevin McManus – brother of JP McManus – for €240,000. Power’s British-based pitches will be sold at an auction in London next month.
The 71-year-old, who is one of the longest standing members of the betting ring, announced in February he was to retire after the Cheltenham Festival, where his son Willie would then be entrusted to oversee the winding down of Richard Power bookmakers.
The firm was established in 1895 by David’s grandfather Richard. Power has been involved in the business since he graduated as a chartered accountant in 1970 and is now the chairman, but decided against selling the business for confidentiality reasons.
It is understood that Ben Keith of Star Sports paid €120,000 for Power’s pitch at the Curragh, while McManus also handed over €100,000 for the Galway pitch.
Darragh Fitzpatrick, one of the leading course bookmakers in Ireland, bought the Gowran Park pitch for €21,000, while Brian Keenan purchased the Fairyhouse pitch for just €2,250.
However, the positions at Ballinrobe and Clonmel failed to sell, with Francis Hyland, secretary of the Irish National Bookmakers Association and an HRI board member, being asked to dispose of the pitches, with all proceeds being donated to the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.
Hyland explained: “I will be selling both pitches on behalf of the Power family and hopefully we can make a nice contribution to the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.”
He added: “David Power has given a long service to racing and every week that the firm has been operating, they have been writing out a cheque for Irish racing, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.
“The Powers have made a financial contribution to Irish racing for years and years, and of all the pitches that were offered up at auction this week, only two of them hadn’t been in the Power family for a minimum of 100 years, which is amazing really.”
Not only was Power a giant of the betting ring, but he was also instrumental in setting up Paddy Power bookmakers, now known as Paddy Power Betfair, back in 1988, when he merged his business with Corcoran Bookmakers. Power remains a prominent shareholder in the company.
He has also enjoyed huge success on the track alongside his wife Sabina with the Eddie-Lynam-trained top-class sprinters Slade Power and Sole Power, both of whom have delivered Royal Ascot success.
Power suggested back in February that he would still go racing regularly in his retirement. He has a team of at least ten horses to look forward to this season.
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