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Matt Hancock 'surprise' favourite to land massive new job after 14 years as MP

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MATT HANCOCK is the ‘surprise’ favourite to land a massive new job after 14 years as an MP in his Newmarket constituency.

The former Health Secretary during Covid is being tipped for the top gig at the British Horseracing Authority.

Is Matt Hancock going to be the next person in charge of British horseracing?

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Is Matt Hancock going to be the next person in charge of British horseracing?Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Former Health Secretary Hancock rode out on Frankie Dettori's old boss and legendary trainer John Gosden's Newmarket gallops in 2019

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Former Health Secretary Hancock rode out on Frankie Dettori’s old boss and legendary trainer John Gosden’s Newmarket gallops in 2019

Current boss Julie Harrington announced on Tuesday that she was stepping down from the biggest role in the sport.

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And speculation was rife soon after that Hancock, who was pictured at last year’s Cheltenham Festival with girlfriend Gina Coladangelo, is being lined up for the position.

Father-of-three Hancock, 45, has been based in racing HQ Newmarket, home to the prestigious 2000 and 1000 Guineas, since 2010, when he was made MP for West Suffolk.

Among those fancied to go for the role are Arsenal big cheese Juliet Slot, Sky Sports Racing pundit Josh Apiafi and departing The Jockey Club boss Nevin Truesdale.

Sam Boswell, spokesperson of BetVictor, said: “Julie Harrington announced that she will be leaving the British Horseracing Authority at the end of 2024 and we already have four frontrunners to assume her role.

“Heading the leading quartet with the most experience is former At The Races CEO Matthew Imi who held that position for almost 20 years, whilst fellow competitor Nevin Truesdale held the same title at the Jockey Club for four years before announcing that he will be stepping down later this year, lining up perfectly with Harrington’s departure.

“Also leading the way are Sky Sports Racing presenter Josh Apiafi and, somewhat surprisingly, former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, who has presided over Newmarket during his 14 years in charge of the constituency.

“The leading four all offer very different options for the BHA.

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“With Hancock, Imi, Truesdale, and Apiafi making the running, it’ll truly be a test of who can get their nose over the line first when the BHA make their decision.”

Hancock, who officially left Parliament at the end of last month, actually trained as a jockey in 2012 and got into shape for his race at Newmarket with help from Frankie Dettori.

Who will get racing’s big job?

Odds on next BHA CEO

8-1 Matt Hancock
8-1 Matthew Imi
8-1 Josh Apiafi
8-1 Nevin Truesdale
10-1 Louise Stewart
10-1 Julian Thick
10-1 Juliet Slot
Selected others
20-1 Kevin Blake
33-1 Nick Luck
50-1 Matt Chapman

Matt Hancock blasted over cringe clip of him lip syncing to Barbie film song

In his bio on gov.uk it says: “He is the first MP in modern times to win a horse race, having raced to victory at the Newmarket July Course in August 2012.”

He was back atop a horse in 2019 when he posted a video himself out on the gallops alongside the message: “Absolutely exhilarating, every single time.”

Hancock’s parliamentary career means he is used to scrutiny – although nothing could have prepared him for the leaking of his affair with Coladangelo.

The Sun obtained footage of the two snogging in his office when the country was still being told to hug ‘carefully’ during coronavirus.

Harrington said she will be leaving her role at the end of the year after four years in the hotseat.

She said: “With so much now in place to develop and grow the Industry Strategy, which will secure a brighter future for British horseracing, it felt like the right time to move on and let someone else steer the sport through its next exciting phase.

“It has been a huge privilege to lead the BHA during what has been a period of real change as the sport has developed and implemented shared strategies for a sustainable future, and an ability to speak with one united voice.

“I love working in horseracing, it is an amazing sport to be involved in.

“I will always be a fan and you can expect to see me at the races in the years ahead.

“I am proud of the progress the industry has made over the past three years, especially in improving the governance structure, and I hope that racing’s stakeholders will continue to work together cooperatively to attract new audiences, further improve the customer experience and grow the sport.

“I am confident that if the sport continues to foster the sense of unity and shared purpose that we have developed over the past few years then great things can be achieved.”

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