Nick Rust OBE Becomes Chairman Of Disputed SPRC

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

The SPRC released a letter to UK racing partners announcing that Rust will succeed Lord Bernard Donoughue, who stepped down as chairman on April 6 after a 16-year stint.

Best knowledge of racing dynamics

As the SPRC moves to introduce much-needed reforms for the sport, Lord Donoughue supported Rust’s nomination, saying that his successor has the best knowledge of racing dynamics.

The SPRC is the main body in charge of monitoring the process by which starting prices in UK racing are decided for all sanctioned events.

Last week, the SPRC reported that, in order to properly represent UK racing’s betting markets as a whole, all racing starting prices will be calculated using “mainly off-course mechanisms.”

Starting price system

On-course bookmakers have criticised the revisions to starting price systems, claiming that they put them at a disadvantage as UK racing prepares to reintroduce crowds in May.

Rust, who stepped down as BHA president at the end of 2020, has been tasked with restoring faith in UK racing’s new SP scheme. Julie Harrington, the recent CEO of British Cycling, has taken his place.

Rust led the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) renegotiations and restructuring of racing’s compulsory betting levy during his time as BHA CEO, which saw licenced bookmakers agree to revised financing conditions for horseracing – which the DCMS has opted to re-examine in 2021.

On his new appointment Rust said: 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.

“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.”