Sportsman puts horse racing first in revamp

Troubled national daily betting newspaper The Sportsman unveiled a revamp this week — as sources at the paper said it is not out of the race yet.

A huge question mark has been hanging over the title's future since 20 July, when bosses revealed it had been put into administration.

The Sportsman was launched in March with a target circulation of 40,000 — the last official figure (for May) was 16,315.

The relaunch has seen the paper move from its initial aim — of covering all gambling — to become more focused on horse racing.

This places it more closely in competition with established betting daily The Racing Post.

Racing has been moved to the front and covers the bulk of the paper, while other sports betting, mainly football, has been moved further back.

A new tipping column called The Oddscracker, by Sam Turner, appears to provide direct competition for The Racing Post's Pricewise column by predicting long-odds winners for the big handicaps. It got off to a good start picking a 12-1 winner.

The Sportsman has also revamped its widely criticised race cards.

Sportsman spokesman Ed Pownall said of the relaunch: "It's still pretty much the same balance, but the racing community are the kind of people who are going to buy it Monday to Friday, whereas the general sports punter is likely to buy it on a Saturday or one day in the week.

"The race cards and form were one of the biggest complaints we've had — all we've really done is change the fonts, but it makes it much clearer."

An announcement over the future of The Sportsman — and its 100-odd staff — is expected some time next week.

Administrators Hacker Young advertised Sportsman publisher Sports Betting Media for sale in the Sunday Times at the weekend.

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