The race to become SIS/Racing Post Betting Shop Manager of the Year gains momentum this week with the announcement of the successful 49 candidates in eight regions through to the next round.
Judges met last week, after going through a second question paper, and can now reveal those managers bidding for retail bookmaking’s ultimate prize.
Next step is for those 49 to be subjected to a mystery shopper at their premises. From that, a final 24 will be invited to Doncaster to spend a day at the races with the judges. Then, the eight regional champions will be decided and announced on the SIS service on November 1.
Each regional champion, along with a key member of their staff, will attend the final selection at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London, which involves a question-and-answer session with the judges the day before the final on Monday, November 19 - a glittering lunch and awards ceremony where the overall winner will be crowned.
The Betting Shop Manager of the Year recognises the winner by giving him or her a sample of the VIP lifestyle, topped this year by a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Singapore Airlines International Cup. It also raises their profile immeasurably, putting the winner and the company they represent, their staff, punters – even their area – firmly on the map and giving everyone a boost.
This year’s winner will be flown with his or her partner to Singapore where they will spend five days, four nights in a top hotel. They will be treated like VIPs, with corporate hospitality laid on by the Singapore Turf Club at the SIA Cup, the highlight of Singapore’s racing calendar which attracts the top runners from all over the world.
Andy Bennett, reigning Betting Shop Manager of the Year, is heading for the high jump! Bennett (pictured) is raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit at his local hospital, and is doing a parachute jump from 5,000 feet on Saturday. Bennett, manager of Scotbet in Selkirk, said: “Our punters here have been fantastic again and I must thank them again for their generosity, with a little over a fortnight to go this sleepy little town has contributed almost £900."
Betting Shop Manager of the Year candidates:
Greater London - Samantha Baker, Coral, London Wall; Bambos Charalambous, William Hill, Tottenham; Carla Hollis, Jenningsbet, Enfield; Tamara Myrie, Ladbrokes, Stamford Hill; Marc Robinson, Paddy Power, Wood Green;
South-East - Tony Amos, Choicebet, Hove; Barbara Berki, William Hill, Luton; Steve Cobb, Betfred, St Leonards-on-Sea; Tom Gurden, Coral, Chelmsford; Saj Nair, Paddy Power, Southend; Will Oliver, Eclipse Sports, Selsey; Alex Wallace, Ladbrokes, Bognor Regis
South-West/Channel Islands - Sally Holbrow, Creedbet, Gloucester; Dominic Lovegrove, Betfred, Fareham; Phil Richard, William Hill, Braunton; Martin Rowe, Paddy Power, Aldershot; Carl Wincombe, Ladbrokes, Shirley, Southampton
Midlands/Wales - Dave Dempster, Ladbrokes, Leicester; Lisa Hyde, Coral, Peterborough; Ashley Richards, Coral, Alvaston, Derby; Lee Thacker, Betfred, Long Eaton; James Tully, Ladbrokes, Port Talbot
North-West/Isle of Man - Neeley Cash, Ladbrokes, Oldham; John Fitzgerald, Ladbrokes, Bootle; Dan Garside, Paddy Power, Huddersfield; Sharon Halsall, William Hill, Liverpool; Mark McCormack, Sportsbook, Bromborough, Wirral; Chris Meadows, Coral, Ormskirk; Jamie Mower, Betfred, St Helens
North-East - Martin Campbell, Ladbrokes, Leeds; Kevin Goldsmith, Betfred, Shiny Row, Sunderland; Paul Howe, William Hill, Middlesborough; Stephen Kennedy, Coral, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Ann Richards, William Hill, Selby; Pete Turney, Coral, Sheffield
Scotland - Karen Denholm, William Hill, Glasgow; Richard Devine, Coral, Motherwell; John Hannah, William Hill, Camelon, Falkirk; Robert McColl, Ladbrokes, Glasgow; Stephen McLaughlin, Paddy Power, Paisley; Angus Wallace, Ladbrokes, Dunbar
Ireland - Paul Cagney, Bar One Racing, Briarhill Shopping Centre, Galway; James Carew, Paddy Power, Holywood; Christine Higginson, McLean Bookmakers, Belfast; Deborah Kavanagh, Paddy Power, Dublin; Stephen Kennedy, William Hill, Newtonards; Eugene McDaid, McLean Bookmakers, Derry City; Cathal Moore, Boylesports, Carlow; Tadhg Murphy, Ladbrokes, Grand Parade, Cork