Racehorse owners unite to secure the future of the Tote

Business News

A deal worth up to £150m to secure the future of the Tote and its pivotal role in British horseracing has received widespread industry backing today.

The Alizeti consortium of racehorse owners and breeders, has come together to reach an agreement to purchase a share of the Tote from Fred Done, founder and CEO of Betfred, who acquired the Tote from the UK government in 2011.

As part of the agreement, the consortium has taken an initial 25% stake with an option to purchase 100% in the future.

The Alizeti deal, spearheaded by racehorse owner and breeder Alex Frost, will allow the group of racehorse owners to continue the good work by Fred Done and his team and assist in modernising and transforming the Tote’s role in British horse-racing for the public and all stakeholders. The announcement has received backing from industry heavyweights such as leading trainer John Gosden and the Racehorse Owners Association.

Speaking about the deal, Fred Done commented: “Following the purchase of the Tote in 2011 we have strived relentlessly to both expand the business and maintain our promises to government in respect of jobs and direct contribution to racing. Looking beyond our exclusive licence expiring in July I am convinced we will have an extremely strong business which is further boosted by this partnership deal. Alex and his team’s enthusiasm for racing coupled with their excellent vision for the future of the UK Tote is most impressive. It is for this reason I am delighted to join with Alizeti in moving the Tote forward to the next exciting chapter in its history.”

Frost said: Fred has achieved incredible things in the industry. He has delivered on all his promises regarding contributions to racing and securing jobs.  I am tremendously excited about our shared vision for a truly iconic brand within the sport of horseracing, and for where the Tote can go next – both domestically and on a global stage.

“Our supporters are dedicated racing people who, collectively, own and train more than 1,000 racehorses worldwide – and we’re excited and determined to work together for the Tote. This is a defining moment for  the future funding structure of British racing. We want the Tote to help  secure  racing’s finances for generations to come and I’m looking forward to sharing our progress with race fans about new products and technologies in due course.”

The consortium of racehorse owners will bring a world-class team of cross-industry experts to the Tote. Frost was one of the youngest ever Managing Directors at Merrill Lynch and currently sits on the board at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Chairman Eamonn Wilmott is a former board member of the British Horseracing Association and pioneer of advanced racing technologies such as in-running software platform Total Performance Data. Chief Marketing and Brand officer Andy Hobsbawm is a veteran of digital marketing and cloud data platforms, and inaugural member of the British Interactive Media Association’s Hall of Fame and Wired UK Top 100.

Classic-winning trainer John Gosden added: “The Tote is one of British racing’s most cherished brands and to see it revitalised to reach its past heights would be fantastic for the sport. This is absolutely the right team to make this happen. I am confident they can unite all stakeholders to help the industry at a time when it needs it most.”

Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, Charlie Liverton, said: “The retention of owners in British racing is of paramount importance and critical to ensuring that the number of horses in training increases. Whilst one of the challenges at the moment is sole owners leaving the sport, it is encouraging to see a group of owners and breeders coming together to help build a strong Tote to benefit all of racing, including through an increased contribution to prize money; a huge positive for the industry.”

Former 20-time Champion Jockey Sir Anthony McCoy added: “A successful Tote means big prize pots for race fans and money going back into the sport. It’s great to see the Tote will continue to be owned by real horsemen with racing’s best interests at heart to provide just that.”

Richard Thompson, owner of Cheveley Park Stud commented: “Cheveley Park is delighted to see the consortium successfully complete the transaction and hopes to see UK Racing benefit accordingly.”

As part of the stated mission to bring the industry Together for the Tote, positive discussions have been ongoing for some time to partner with Britbet for a single UK pool betting solution powered by the Tote.

Alex Frost added: “Ascot has always believed in the strength of a united pool for the benefit of customers and racecourses. We are delighted to help develop the original partnership they formed with Totepool.”

The Tote was established by an Act of Parliament in 1928 to provide the public with the best communal racing experience and to safeguard the welfare of the industry by distributing profits for “purposes conducive to the improvement of breeds of horses or the sport of horseracing”. The revitalised Tote will remain true to these founding values and be guided by this vision of mutuality.