In racing, the Arc has always been synonymous with the Paris and the first weekend in October. That’s no longer the case, as the merger of Arena Leisure and Northern racing has given birth to a new ARC – Arena Racing Company. It will operate from an old hotbed of political intrigue, Millbank Tower in London.
The new business was formally launched yesterday, although in truth, apart from the logo, there will be little obvious immediate change. Kate Hills, who continues in her role as director of PR and Communications for the enlarged group said in a statement yesterday, “The last few months have been exceptionally busy integrating the two Groups, including setting up our new office in London.” She barely acknowledged the closure of Hereford and Folkestone, simply saying they were “regrettable.”
In moving the business ahead she said, “We are now looking forward to the future and working to create a dynamic Racing and leisure Group servicing the needs of all our customers.” The first big test of that ambition will come next month at Doncaster, where we will no doubt have to get used to the new ARC logo alongside the St Leger.
Kelly used the launch of the new venture to confirm that Arena Racing Company intend to increase their contribution to prize money so that every race at their courses meets the tariff set by the Horsemen’s Group from 1 October, which will mean no repeat of the debacle at Worcester recently when 11 horses were withdrawn from a race in protest at the low prize money on offer.
There was a reminder, too, that shareholders, the Reuben brothers, through their charitable arm The Reuben Foundation, have taken out a lease on a horse called Great Ormond. They have actually had the two year old bay colt in training with David Simcock since March, though he has yet to set foot on the racecourse. If he does win any money, it will be shared between Great Ormond Street Hospital and Racing Welfare.