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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Shareholders back GVC takeover of Ladbrokes Coral

GVC Holdings will pay at least £3.2bn for Ladbrokes Coral
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GVC Holdings' takeover of Ladbrokes Coral has passed another hurdle on Thursday with shareholders from both firms voting overwhelmingly in favour of the deal.

GVC will pay £3.2 billion for Ladbrokes Coral if the government cuts FOBT stakes to £2, with the price of the deal increasing on a sliding scale up to £4bn in the unlikely event of the stake being £50.

Ladbrokes Coral chairman John Kelly said: "It is pleasing that shareholders have overwhelmingly recognised the opportunity and value the proposed deal with GVC offers Ladbrokes Coral.

"The board firmly believe that in creating a bigger and more diverse group, Ladbrokes Coral and its people, brands and shareholders will be helping to create a world leading betting and gaming business.

"I would also like to thank the employees and shareholders of Ladbrokes Coral for their strong and committed support since its creation."

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of March.

York wins 2017 racecourse of the year award

York has retained its title after being voted Racecourse of the Year 2017 by the Racegoers Club, the eighth time it has been awarded the top award.

Goodwood was named runner-up, while Cheltenham was the best-loved jumps track.

Voters were asked for their scores in five categories: viewing experience, facilities, food & beverage, atmosphere and value for money. The courses were split into three geographical regions and the winners were selected by who had the highest overall average score across all categories.

William Derby, York chief executive and clerk of the course, said: "To win and then retain the accolade of racecourse of the year is an honour. It’s a real tribute to the hard work of so many that make racing at York such a special experience."

Festival preview night

TG4 will screen its annual preview of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday at 8.30pm. The 30-minute show, presented by Denis Kirwan, will also be shown on TG4  at the same time on Saturday. The preview will examine the principal contenders for the Unibet Champion Hurdle and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and will feature stable visits to the yards of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson.

John Duffy funeral

Former champion jockeys Frankie Dettori and Kieren Fallon were among over 500 mourners at the funeral of onetime multiple stable lads boxing champion John Duffy at the Our Lady Immaculate and St Ethelreda Catholic Church in Newmarket on Thursday.

Duffy, who was just 50 when he died last month, was a driver for Dettori for many years before which he worked as a stable lad for Michael Bell and Sir Henry Cecil among others and later for RaceTech as a stalls handler.

Dettori and Fallon had both flown back from Dubai especially for the service for which may mourners were draped in the green and white of Duffy's beloved Celtic, as requested by the family.

Other racing figures in attendance included Ted Durcan, Martin Dwyer, Jimmy Quinn, Shane Kelly, Franny Norton and Allan Mackay. Duffy's former employer Michael Bell was also among the mourners as was ITV pundit Jason Weaver.

Duffy, who died on February 16,  leaves a widow, Amanda, and two children, Milly, 16, and Connie,15. All donatioins should be sent Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where all donations should be sent.

Pure Silk

The Silk Series, which gives female jockeys further opportunities on popular summer racedays, has been expanded to include races from Goodwood, Hamilton, Musselburgh and York.

Launched across nine Arc racecourses in 2017, the series also raises funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK. 

Thirty-six jockeys took part in the series in 2017, with Megan Nicholls winning the Tufnell Trophy, named in honour of Meriel Tufnell, the first woman to ride a winner under rules in Britain in 1972.

In 2018, the series will offer a total of £150,000 in prize-money, with the £20,000 final taking place at the St Leger meeting. Jockeys win points based on their finishing position in each race.









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Enhanced identity checks

Secondary scanning procedures at racecourses – whereby horses’ microchips are scanned upon leaving the stables before a race – have been enhanced further with a race-specific identity check.

The devices used to scan the horses by equine welfare integrity officers now link the identity of the horse being scanned to the runners' list for the race it is being scanned out for.

The enhancement will ensure that if the wrong horse is brought out an alert within the technology will be triggered to minimise the risk of human error leading to further identification mix-ups.

When the horse is scanned it will list their age, colour, sex, microchip number and which race it appears in, as well as the trainer and what number saddle cloth the horse is due to carry, in case it is saddled in the stables.

Should a horse be scanned for a race it is not due to contest, the app will prompt the user with the message, 'This horse is not a runner in this race'. Work will also be completed shortly whereby stewards on duty will also have oversight of the scanning data.

Brant Dunshea, BHA director of integrity and regulatory operations, said: “Our priority following the recent mix-ups at Southwell was to take whatever steps were appropriate to ensure the issue doesn’t happen again.

“It's vital the public’s trust in racing as a fair, well-regulated sport, which is run with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, is not impacted by similar incidents.

"The launch of the race identity check will achieve that aim as it further mitigates the risk of human error impacting the scanning and identification process." 

Alec Russell funeral

The funeral of racing photographer Alec Russell, who died last month aged 85, will take place at 11am on Monday, March 19 at the East Riding Crematorium, Octon Cross Road, Driffield YO25 3BL, and afterwards at the Malton & Norton Golf Club, Welham Road, Norton YO17 9DU.

Family flowers only with donations to the Injured Jockeys Fund. His family request that no black is worn. As Alec was a lifetime supporter of Middlesbrough FC, anyone with a 'Boro' scarf is asked to wear it.

Rimell house for sale

Ryall Place, former home of the late Mercy Rimell, who in 1983 became the first female trainer to win the Champion Hurdle thanks to Gaye Brief, is being sold at auction on Tuesday, April 17. 

The property, in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, has a guide price of £650,000.




It is pleasing that shareholders have overwhelmingly recognised the opportunity and value the proposed deal with GVC offers Ladbrokes Coral

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