Thursday, August 28, 2014
Horse Racing Industry News
Ladbrokes, who operate 213 betting shops in the Republic and 79 in Northern Ireland have announced a loss of almost 11% in net revenue for 2014 to date. Despite the boon provided by the World Cup, Ladbroke’s Irish operation also reported a 7.5% drop in betting stakes. Ladbroke’s performance in Ireland is indicative of problems within the wider group which has reported a drop of 33% in operating profit for the first half of the year. Despite closing 46 shops in 2014, Ladbrokes are suffering in the online space to rivals William Hill and Paddy Power. Hills in particular are vastly out performing them. Ladbrokes’s online business made £3m in operating profits this year whereas Hill’s made £92m during the same period. All of this has resulted in Ladbrokes share prices dropping by a full 27% from the start of the year. Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn remains optimistic about the growth of the online brand but has admitted it has taken longer than expected : "Mobile is the battleground now – there is no doubt about it. We only launched [our mobile product] six months ago. It is now bigger than desktop in digital. It is growing at a very good rate.” Despite the drop in earnings, Ladbrokes remain on course to meet their full-year profit target but if the remainder of the year turns out like the first half, Glynn may not be in the hot seat for 2015 as shareholders continue to be greatly concerned with its overall performance.
Betfair have sold 50% of their Australian business to Australian gaming and entertainment group, Crown Resorts Limited, for A$10m. In doing so Betfair have raised speculation about a return of capital to their shareholders. The deal with Crown Resorts Limited will see Betfair continue to provide software and technology to the Australian business and will receive a share of revenues generated in the region. David Jennings, analyst at Davy said Betfair has "been very frustrated" by the tax treatment of betting exchanges in Australia "for many years". The sale was widely welcomed and CEO Breon Corcoran has continued to perform strongly since joining the Betting Exchange from Paddy Power in 2012. Corcoran received €179,000 in relocation costs when moving from Dublin to the UK to take the helm at Betfair but to his credit, shares at the company have risen by almost 50% since he joined in 2012.
There was a mini bidding war between Gerry Griffin, Jim Culloty, Matt O'Connor and Aiden Murphy at the Tattersalls Ireland August National Hunt Sale for a three-year-old Milan gelding. Wexford’s Parkville Stud were delighted as their gelding was sold for €80,000 to Ryan Mahon on behalf of Paul Nicholls. Related to Woolcombe Folly, he will be trained at Ditcheat for a 2015 campaign. Overall trade was brisk at the three-day National Hunt Sale. Other notable mentions include John O'Byrne paid €60,000 for son of Presenting who is a half-brother to the 2013 Arkle hero Simonsig. Gerry Griffin, on behalf of Nicky Richard, parted with €58,000 for a son of Stowaway out of a winning half-sister to Champion Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby. Tattersalls announced that the 2014 sale vastly out-performed the 2013 one and were very pleased with the amounts realised.
Under his remit as chairman of the European Pattern Committee, Brian Kavanagh has announced a number of changes to European sprint races for 2015. Among these changes include upgrades to races in Britain, France, Germany and Ireland. There will also be a new Group 1 6f race at Royal Ascot which will be worth £375,000. Kavanagh admitted that he felt that “there is a definite lack of top class European three-year-old sprinters” and the aim is to increase the quality and opportunities for trainers. Naas racecourse will benefit from the new sprint programme as their listed Lacken Stakes which is held in June is elevated from a Listed race to a Group 3. The Curragh too will have a new Group 2 race for older horses as the Greenlands 6f sprint is upgraded and both the Sapphire and Flying Five will also garner Group 2 status next year.
If ever you visit a website and have the misfortune to click onto a missing link to a broken page, you will see a standard error message called a “404 error”. This indicates that the page cannot be found. Usually these 404 pages are drab affairs but some websites are a little more creative than others. Credit to RTE Sport who display a photograph of the great Shergar on their 404 error pages. The 1981 European horse of the year who was stolen by masked gunmen from Ballymany Stud in 1983 and remains on the missing list ever since. Gone, but not forgotten Shergar lives on in cyberspace in no small way due to the RTE technicians at Donnybrook as he reminds you that your website page, like the horse himself, unfortunately cannot be found.