Newbury Boss Sieff in Race-O Controversy

Article excerpt

Byline: MARCUS TOWNEND

SIR David Sieff has rejected suggestions that there is a conflict of interest in his roles as chairman of both Newbury and internet superbet company Race-O.

While totesport sponsor Europe's most valuable handicap hurdle, the [pounds sterling]150,000 Gold Trophy, at the track on Saturday, Race-O step up attempts to muscle in on its pool betting territory, and the Scoop6 in particular, by offering its first [pounds sterling]1million jackpot.

Sieff said: 'Race-O's objectives are similar to those of the Tote in their support of UK racing.' The Scoop6 received tremendous publicity when Agnes Haddock from Cheshire won [pounds sterling]688,620 for an initial [pounds sterling]2 outlay on Saturday.

But with totesport in the throes of a [pounds sterling]410million sale to a racing consortium, it is unlikely to welcome the rival into its market place.

With [pounds sterling]3m last year, it is racing's biggest sponsor and contributed an additional [pounds sterling]11m to the sport. After privatisation, it will inevitably require a harder commercial edge.

Race-O executives believe their massive lottery-style prize can attract both hardened punters and new customers traditionally frightened by racing mystique.

Sieff says it can also become a serious contributor to racing's coffers. …