Nick Rust takes over from Lord Donoughue as new chairman of starting price body

Former BHA chief executive Nick Rust has taken over as the new chairman of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC) following the retirement of Lord Donoughue.

The news comes following last week's confirmation by the SPRC that starting prices in British races will continue to be determined using mainly off-course odds, even when on-course bookmakers return to the track.

Donoughue had chaired the SPRC, which is responsible for the integrity and accuracy of the SP system, since it was established in 2004.

He said: "I have immensely enjoyed my 16 years leading the commission, supported by a wonderful team of colleagues who have established the SP as the main platform for the race bets of the average British punter, trusted for its efficiency, fairness and integrity.

"I am delighted that Nick Rust, whose experience and understanding of both racing and betting is widely respected, has agreed to succeed me."

Rust had enjoyed a long career in the betting industry with Ladbrokes, Coral and Sky Bet before he took over as BHA chief executive in 2015, a position he held until stepping down in December.

He said of his new role: "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."

The SP has been formulated using exclusively off-course prices since racing went behind closed doors in June last year.

Although the SPRC said it would still include the on-course market as around ten to 12.5 per cent of the overall sample for returning starting prices, racecourse bookmakers responded with dismay to last week's announcement.