The Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) was created in August, 2015, with the assistance of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to represent the perceived interests of those who bet upon, or who might bet upon, British horseracing.
The HBF seeks to ensure that those interests are understood and taken into account in the relevant decision-making processes, for the good of both bettors and the sport of horseracing in Britain.
The HBF consists of between seven and nine members – all voluntary and unpaid – who convene roughly once every three months to discuss issues that they feel are relevant to British horseracing punters. The HBF has no mandatory powers, but, where appropriate, it seeks to influence policy in accordance with its stated objectives.
The intention is that the Chair will have a tenure of two years and that Forum members will be in place for in the region of three years. Openings will come up for interested and committed members of the public in years to come.
Forum members also communicate extensively between meetings, and provide feedback to bodies within racing and betting – notably the BHA – as far as is possible given their other personal commitments.
At the outset, the public was asked to indicate an interest in being on the Forum under the terms set out. Over 100 such applications were received, from which Forum members were chosen by the Chair and the BHA together.
In addition, HBF has three advisers who do not attend meetings but who may be asked to provide their expert input about matters which will be coming up for discussion.
In choosing the Forum members, an emphasis was placed on representing as many of the diverse interests in betting on horseracing in Britain as was reasonably possible – either in person or through those members’ contacts with the wider public – while ensuring that the HBF collectively already had a good understanding of many of the issues that were likely to come up.
A twitter account (@HBFBritain) and dedicated email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) were established with the purpose of gathering ideas or proposals which might be discussed at Forum meetings, though mindful of the limited resources at the Forum’s disposal.
The HBF would like to thank the BHA not only for its assistance in establishing the Forum in the first place but for regularly providing rooms in which to meet, administrative support for those meetings, and for offering to defray standard travel expenses to members travelling to those meetings.
Not only does the HBF owe its existence to the BHA, it sees a constructive and healthy relationship with the BHA as intrinsic to its future.
The Forum Members (details correct at April 2020)
BENJAMIN FELLOWS, Ben was raised in York and gained an interest in horse racing from an early age, with many trips to the racecourse and bookies with his late grandfather, the latter being limited to remaining outside minding the bicycles until turning 18! A solicitor by trade, he now resides in Manchester, is a member at York Racecourse and regularly bets on horse racing. He has horses in training with Phil Makin and Roger Fell.
COLIN HORD (Chair), London, recently retired from the Civil Aviation Authority where he was a policy lead in the Safety and Airspace Regulation Division. Has a degree in meteorology. He is a member of Kempton Park Racecourse and writes a blog with his betting selections.
MARTIN HUGHES, near Newcastle, worked at Barclays Bank plc for 19 years in various roles. For the past 8 years he has been a full-time bettor, adopting several approaches and becoming a specialist in in-running (without fast pictures).
PAUL JOHNSON, Leeds, worked for William Hill for over 30 years and is now a professional horseracing bettor. A keen racegoer who has visited all 60 racecourses in the UK, he also advises on horseracing at Regulus Partners.
JAYNE LEGGET, Essex, has worked within the media and gambling industries for the last 23 years. She currently works in software development for the gambling industry, specialising in compliance and responsible gambling tools for the customer. A regular racegoer and former racehorse owner, with a keen interest in all areas of betting.
COLIN MAGEE (Deputy-chair), London, is an enterprise software executive and entrepreneur, and is a regular racegoer. He authored the first published book on how to program the Betfair API and is also owner of www.betwise.co.uk, a site which provides data analysis tools for bettors who wish to build their own systems.
SIMON ROWLANDS, 57, Sheffield. Helped to establish HBF in 2015 and was its first Chair. Left in 2018, as required by Terms of Reference, and now rejoins as an ordinary member with particular interest in data initiatives, punter education, and engaging with stakeholders and official bodies to help to form policy. Simon is a freelance racing analyst/writer and consultant with links to At The Races, The Irish Field and Timeform, among others and describes himself as “a lifelong punter”.
GEORGE RYLEY, George, currently residing in Ceredigion, is a Corporate Manager for the local Council whose passion for horseracing and all things related spans over 40 years. A regular racegoer George feels lucky to have walked the courses at Sha Tin and Ffos Las. He enjoys a bet and helping others to do the same by advising on stakes and permutations. Representing other bettors is seen as a privilege and an opportunity to give something back to the sport he loves.
SEAN TRIVASS, Crawley, freelance sports journalist specialising in horse racing for over 30 years, and used to be Hyperion for The Independent for many years. Son of Peter Trivass who bred St Leger runner-up Kite Wood at Northmore Stud and enthused by the breeding side as well as the betting side. Loves the sport and everything about it with a passion and travels the World where finances allow to follow the big meetings.