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Betting Shop Manager of the Year

THE SEARCH BEGINS

THIS year we will crown the 25th winner of the prestigious Racing Post/SIS Betting Shop Manager of the Year competition and the search begins to find the next manager to join the illustrious roll of honour.
Andy Bennett, 33, was last year’s victor and the senior manager of Scotbet’s shop in Selkirk returned home from Dubai last night after a VIP trip to Saturday’s World Cup – his prize for winning the competition.



He spent three days in the emirate with partner Tracy and six-year-old son Kris, an experience he described as “unbelievable”. He added: “It was spectacular. Dubai is like nothing else on this earth.”
It has been a whirlwhind four months for Andy since he was crowned champion in November. His first day out was to Ascot with his shop team, where they watched the racing from the SIS box, and he was also present at Wimbledon dogs last month for the Racing Post Juvenile.
Andy said: “The last four months since I picked up the trophy have been an absolute joy. The most enjoyable part for me has been the excitement and publicity it has generated locally.”
Professionally, he found the trip to the ICE gaming exhibition at Earls Court in January a real eye-opener. “It was brilliant to see all the new technology. We’re bringing in a new till system here at Scotbet and I’m involved in the training. It has been great to get some extra responsibility which winning the competition has brought my way.”
Since his victory, Andy has written a blog on racingpost.com and he was the first to admit he didn’t enjoy it at first, but it has grown on him and putting his shop experiences and the thoughts of his customers on to the website has been fun. As well as going to Dubai, 104 customers and staff from his Selkirk shop went to Kelso races courtesy of the track’s managing director Richard Landale, where Andy handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Special Care Baby Unit at the Borders General Hospital. “Kris spent time there, so it was great to give something back,” he said. Andy will be in London in
November to see his successor crowned and the main prize for this year’s winner will be a trip to the 2013 Singapore Airlines International Cup meeting. The prize includes four night’s hotel accommodation for two in Singapore and corporate hospitality at the races.
The prize is being sponsored by the Singapore Turf Club and Brough Scott, chairman of the judges’ panel, said: “It’s a real delight for the Racing
Post to be going back to Singapore. The memory of Clement Freud sitting by the pool in his bathrobe reciting Albert and the Lion to Jackie Sweeting, the 2003 Betting Shop Manager of the Year winner, will never fade.”

HOW THE QUALIFYING STAGE WORKS
It is up to the major companies to determine their qualifiers.
There are eight regional ‘competitions’:
Ireland, Scotland, North-East, NorthWest and Isle of Man, Midlands and Wales, Anglia and South-East, SouthWest and Channel Islands, and Greater
London. In the seven British regions, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Betfred will be asked to put forward two nominations for each area, with one place in each earmarked for Paddy Power.
In Ireland, there are two places reserved for Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Boylesports.
For all other independent managers, there is a special entry form, which will be sent out this week. A PDF copy which is available on request by emailing
gill.heaney@racingpost.com, or alternatively, it can be downloaded from here

These will be treated as one company, ‘the independents’, with two places per region allocated (one in Ireland). A Racing Post panel will determine who will take on the bigger firms and fly the flag for independent bookmaking.

SECOND STAGE ONWARDS
At this point, we should have 84 managers (77 from Britain, seven from Ireland), who each receive a written question paper from which six per region will be chosen by a Racing Post panel to go through to the next stage.
The 48 managers through to this stage will each be subjected to a mystery shopper visit after which the panel will whittle the number down to 24 (three per region). Those 24 managers will then spend a day at the races at Doncaster on Racing Post Trophy weekend to meet the judges. The eight regional champions will be decided from this day. Each regional champion, along with a key member of their shop staff, will then attend the final selection at the Carlton Tower Hotel in London, which involves a question-and-answer session with the judges the day before the final.

THE WINNER
The final takes place at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London. As well as a trip to the 2013 Singapore Airlines Cup, the winner will also enjoy an evening at the Racing Post Juvenile at Wimbledon and a day ’s racing at Ascot in SIS’s box.

ROLL OF HONOUR
Year Name                  Firm
1988 Willie Allison       William Hill
1989 Peter Dagnall      Coral
1990 Clive Eves          Ladbrokes
1991 Peter Martin        William Hill
1992 Barbara Holland Coral
1993 Jan Vince           AR Dennis
1994 Eddie Amakoh    Coral
1995 Martin Kelly        Coral
1996 Ellen Killen          Ladbrokes
1997 Leila Craig          Coral
1998 Anthony O’Hara Stanley Racing
1999 Alan McEwen    William Hill
2000 Gail Abbott        Braybrook Racing
2001 Michael Hatton  Coral
2002 Siobhan Gallagher Coral
2003 Jackie Sweeting  William Hill
2004 Anita Graham     Totesport
2005 Shaun Holden    Totesport
2006 Michelle Fox       Boylesports
2007 Steph Davies     Coral
2008 Andrea Baker    Coral
2009 Angie Bowers   Ladbrokes
2010 Michael Demetriou Choicebet
2011 Andy Bennett     Scotbet