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)
STEVE HARRISON, Canterbury, former professor of genetics at The Royal Agricultural University. Has a professional interest in racing through Thoroughbred Genetics Ltd – which uses DNA-based technologies to advise on breeding, sales and racing strategies. Interested in racing from an early age and is fascinated by all useful data and how they are used in betting.
CHARLIE HART, London, previously worked at independent bookmaker Fitzdares as a broker and on-course representative. He later developed his keen interest and knowledge of pedigrees and breeding in Flat racing as bloodstock assistant at one of the UK’s leading stud farms.
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.
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.