2016 has been a successful year for Scottish Racing. I would like to acknowledge the work done by Lorna Ferguson, who left Scottish Racing after four years, and her successor Delly Innes who joined us in 2016. They have both worked tirelessly with the Executives of the five racecourses to promote the sport in Scotland.
The fantastic success of One For Arthur in the Randox Health Grand National gave racing in Scotland an opportunity to highlight its many positive aspects.
Our campaigns to promote racing in Scotland have been changed to recognise the reach the digital age can give. The reaction to this has been excellent, and racing is now clearly the second largest spectator sport in Scotland after football. We look forward to building on that for the future.
Sadly David Whitaker, a Director of Scottish Racing from its inception in 2000, died during the year. David’s contribution, particularly in the early years, was significant and we shall miss his wise counsel.
Sir Ian Good Chairman
Having taken on the role of Manager of Scottish Racing early in 2016, I am proud to work with all the racecourses and everyone involved in the industry north of the border and beyond, in these exciting, challenging, but overall optimistic times.
The way to engage broadly is now not just through the traditional media, but also online. In order to reach as broad an audience as possible in 2016, Scottish Racing provided copy to two Scottish newspapers on a weekly basis. Scottish Racing’s website and social media are also an important shop window. Our e-campaigns can engage many more than we would have hoped for a decade ago, and our re-designed web pages, increased digital advertising and social media promotion have produced highly effective results.
We were delighted to announce the creation of a new Cross Party Group (CPG) in Holyrood, consisting of MSPs from three of the main Scottish political parties. This group will provide a strategic forum to discuss important issues with MSPs from all parties alongside key stakeholders from within the racing, betting and bloodstock industries. The CPG will also review proposals and discuss legislation that would have a potentially negative impact on the horseracing and bloodstock industries in Scotland, and seek to promote the industries through relevant parliamentary questions and motions. In order to determine Scottish Racing’s economic profile and its role in the leisure sector of Scotland, Scottish Racing commissioned an Economic Impact Study in 2016. The report explains how the sport, with strong revenues and a burgeoning public profile, offers both an investment opportunity and an important prospect for economic development in Scotland, and will provide a useful reference for many years to come.
I look forward to continuing to work hard on behalf of all aspects of the sport north of the border.
Delly Innes Manager