Nick Rust replaces Lord Donoughue as chairman of disputed SPRC

Nick Rust OBE, the former Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has been confirmed as the new Chairman of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC).

The SPRC issued a statement to UK racing stakeholders, confirming that Rust would replace Lord Bernard Donoughue, who ended his 16-year tenure as SPRC chairmanship on 6 April.

Lord Donoughue backed Rust’s appointment, stating that his replacement had the deepest understanding of racing dynamics, as the SPRC moves to implement much-needed changes for the sport.

SPRC serves as the principal body charged with overseeing the mechanism by which UK racing’s starting prices are determined across all sanctioned fixtures.

Last week, the SPRC announced that all racing starting prices would be determined using ‘mainly off-course mechanisms‘ in order to better reflect UK racing’s betting markets as a whole.

The changes to starting price mechanisms drew criticism from on-course bookmakers, arguing that it places them at a disadvantage as UK racing prepares to welcome back crowds to its fixtures from May onwards.

Securing trust in UK racing’s new SP system has been marked as the imminent test for Rust, who stepped down from leading the BHA at the end of 2020. He was replaced by former British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington. 

During his tenure as BHA CEO, Rust led the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) renegotiations and reform of racing’s ‘statutory betting levy’, which saw licensed bookmakers commit to new funding terms for horseracing – which DCMS has chosen to re-examine in 2021

“I’m delighted to be joining colleagues on the Board at the SPRC, and look forward to working with them to continue to assure people who bet on racing and betting operators alike of the robust integrity of the Starting Price,” said Rust. “I’d like to thank Lord Bernard Donoughue for his vision in establishing the SPRC and his 16 years of stewardship in chairing the organisation.”

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