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Long-serving Ladbrokes trio to bow out of ring

20 January 2014

BRITISH racing is set to lose three of its best-known characters from the betting ring following the latest raft of redundancies at Ladbrokes.

Long-serving on-course representatives John Bates, Tom Munt and Roy Wilfort, who between them have more than 130 years’ experience, are leaving the bookmaker at the end of the month.

The trio have decided to take voluntary redundancy as part of a consultation exercise that involved around 50 jobs and included a review of the company’s on-course operation.

Hugh Carr, a veteran of Ladbrokes’ trading department, is also bowing out, having accepted voluntary redundancy.

The first round of redundancies last spring affected around 100 jobs and was the result of the partnership Ladbrokes entered into with online betting software provider Playtech to accelerate growth in their digital business. The partnership led to the establishment of Ladbrokes Israel, with a number of tasks transferring to that operation.

A second wave of redundancies involving around 75 jobs emerged last summer as part of the firm’s restructuring.

Bates, who is believed to have been with Ladbrokes for 49 years, is a familiar face to punters at tracks across the south of England, where Wilfort similarly has also been part of the furniture, while Yorkshire-based Munt has mostly represented the bookmaker at northern courses. The company are planning presentations to mark their long service.

Despite the departures, Ladbrokes are understood still to have around 22 on-course representatives across Britain and Ireland, although after the review about a dozen pitches at courses where the company have not stood for several years have either been sold or are being put up for auction. The tracks involved include Nottingham, Newcastle, Redcar, Ripon, Yarmouth and Worcester.

Despite reducing their on-course presence, Ladbrokes are determined to remain a key player in the ring at all the major meetings. They continue to retain three rails pitches at Cheltenham, and are also keeping two such positions at York and Newmarket’s July course.

Ladbrokes corporate affairs director Ciaran O’Brien said on Monday: “I can confirm all those named took voluntary redundancy and they carry with them best wishes for the future from all their friends at Ladbrokes.”

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