Owner who raised £1m with Cheltenham song barred from betting on horse racing


Owner who raised £1m with Cheltenham song barred from betting on horse racing.

A prominent bookmaker has informed a long-time owner who was behind the racing charity song Cheltenham and trained more than 50 point-to-point winners that he is no longer welcome to bet on the sport with them.

Richard Gurney is a racing fan who famously got a bunch of famous racing people together to sing a song he wrote to Petula Clark’s hit song Downtown. Cheltenham, the new version released in 2010, reached number 12 in the Irish charts and number 150 in the UK. This helped Gurney’s efforts, which over the course of several years raised more than £1 million for charity.

“I’ve been gambling on horses all my life,” he said. “I have had phenomenal years, when I wouldn’t have needed to work that year because I won so much, and dreadful years, when I’ve had to work twice as hard. The reason I do it is because racing is more fun for me if I’ve had a bet.”

However, Gurney, who previously bet with Betfair, discovered in October that his account had been frozen. After Gurney refused to submit bank statements and tax returns, the account was closed at his request. He is one of several punters who discussed the agony of affordability checks for a major Sunday newspaper feature with the Racing Post this week.

“I don’t see why, at the age of 55, I should accept some guy on the phone suggesting I might have a gambling problem when I know I’m totally in control,” he said.

“It made me feel that there was something wrong with me. I know I’m becoming a bit of a dinosaur but I think we have enough of a nanny state already without me giving Betfair what would amount to all my personal financial information, details of what I earned and when I earned it, plus all the other transactions. I’m afraid that’s just a step too far. It’s the sort of information that has nothing to do with them.”


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