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GVS EQ launches as a specialist consulting business for the equestrian and gaming sectors

GVS EQ launches as a specialist consulting business for the equestrian and gaming sectors

  • Founding partners are Nick Rust (ex-BHA, Coral, SkyBet), Sarah Hordern (ex-Newbury Racecourse, RMG), Will Lambe (ex-BHA), Richard Lancaster (ex-Shadwell), and David Sykes (ex-BHA and Emirates Racing) alongside GVS Founders Simon Bazalgette and Paul Fisher (both ex-Jockey Club)

Thursday 29th September 2022 – Some of the most experienced figures internationally in horseracing, equestrian and gaming are joining forces to create GVS EQ.

GVS EQ offers specialist consulting services for the global equestrian and gaming sectors, through expert partners and associates with Board-level experience in areas including governance, media rights, gaming operations, sports administration, breeding, racecourse development, veterinary science and medical services.

Global Venue Services (GVS), the company launched in 2020 by Simon Bazalgette and Paul Fisher, who previously ran one of the largest sport businesses in the UK, The Jockey Club, between 2008 and 2019, is behind the new venture. Alongside GVS, the founding partners of GVS EQ are:

  • Nick Rust OBE – who ran the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) as CEO between 2015 and 2020
  • Sarah Hordern – who was Joint CEO at Newbury Racecourse between 2008 and 2014, led the successful integrated property development around the racecourse and has since been involved in property and financial projects in various sectors, including the National Health Service
  • Will Lambe – Director of the BHA between 2003 and 2021
  • Richard Lancaster – Stud Director for Shadwell for more than 20 years
  • David Sykes – BHA Director of Equine Health & Welfare between 2017 and 2021, and previously Chief Veterinary Officer for Emirates Racing Authority

In addition to its founding partners, GVS EQ will have a strong network of Associates for its clients to draw upon, encompassing experts in: bloodstock technology and investment (John Ferguson, Richard Lancaster); animal welfare, sports medicine and anti-doping (David Sykes, Tim Morris); integrity and security (Martin Purbrick); sports governance and stakeholder representation (Mike Etherington-Smith, Rupert Arnold); media rights/commercial (The Sports Consultancy), reputation management/PR/events (Spectacle Partners, Liz Price, Tanya Stevenson, Anna Powell, The Wine Tipster); racecourse and major event management/sporting surfaces (Andrews Bowen, International Venue Management, Steve Parlett); and HR/management development (Aquila Partners).

GVS EQ’s website is live at

How GVS EQ came about
Since GVS was launched in 2020, it has carried out a number of consulting assignments in the equestrian and gaming sector, working alongside major international and regional consulting firms such as PwC, Blink Experience and KPMG. For example, GVS has provided operational racecourse support for the Saudi Cup in 2021 and 2022, and is providing governance, regulatory and commercial strategy advice to the equestrian sector in the Gulf States and in South America. It has worked closely with a wide range of expert individuals in the sector, and it became a natural next step for GVS to strengthen these relationships by creating GVS EQ.

What experience does GVS EQ bring to client projects?
A small selection of the projects GVS EQ partners and associates have been involved in leading include:

  • Overhauling and modernising the rules of horseracing in the UK
  • Founding the UK’s largest horseracing media rights operator (RMG)
  • Leading the development of world-class thoroughbred and Arabian breeding and racing operations in the world (Darley/Godolphin, Shadwell)
  • Developing racecourses and related land to provide world-class customer experience and to unlock capital development opportunities (The Princess Royal Stand at Cheltenham, the extensive development around Newbury Racecourse, the training centre and racecourse at Conghua, Guangdong Province in China)
  • Developing major betting and gaming brands to market leading positions (SkyBet, Ladbrokes Coral)
  • Government engagement to update legislation and financial regulations for sport (i.e. the modernisation of the Horserace Betting Levy in the UK)
  • Founding the BHA’s Welfare Board to ensure the highest standards of care for equine and human participants in the sport
  • Stakeholder representation and engagement (the National Trainers Federation, the Racecourse Association, Thoroughbred Breeders Association, British Eventing as well as in football and athletics)
  • Modernising security and integrity functions to become world-leading (the BHA, the Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Simon Bazalgette, Chairman of GVS, said:
“Since the launch of GVS we have developed a terrific network of highly expert and skilled consultants, all with distinguished careers in the equestrian and gaming sectors. Paul Fisher and I developed strong relationships with a wide range of great people from around the world during our time running the Jockey Club together. Having worked with a number of them on some major international projects, we all felt there was a real opportunity to formalise the relationship and open up our services to a wider range of equestrian, sports and gaming businesses around the world.”

Nick Rust, a Founding Partner of GVS EQ, said:
“I’m excited to be part of GVS EQ following a period of working with GVS on a couple of international governance and regulation strategy projects. Together we have seen the opportunity to bring together a range of top class leaders and experts to provide strategic advice to the global equestrian and gaming sector. The challenges for the sport have never been greater, and the skills and experience of the GVS EQ network makes it much easier to access joined up strategic support and advice.”

GVS EQ – Individual Associates include:

  • Rupert Arnold (CEO of the National Trainers’ Federation between 2000 and 2021)
  • James Clifton (Finance Controller at The Jockey Club between 2009 and 2015)
  • Mike Etherington-Smith (CEO of British Eventing between 2010 and 2015)
  • John Ferguson (Racing Manager and CEO of Darley/Godolphin for over 20 years)
  • Tom Manners (Sales & Marketing Director of the Jockey Club between 2012 and 2021)
  • Tim Morris (BHA Director of Equine Science & Welfare between 2008 and 2013)
  • Steve Parlett (GM of Kempton Park Racecourse from 2015 to 2020)
  • Neil Phillips (The Wine Tipster – presenter and hospitality PR)
  • Anna Powell (founder of Racing Together and British Bloodstock Marketing)
  • Liz Price (presenter and journalist for France Galop and Longines)
  • Martin Purbrick (Director of Security & Integrity at the Hong Kong Jockey Club for 15 years)
  • Tanya Stevenson (Betting expert, broadcaster and TV producer)

GVS EQ – Corporate Associates include:

  • Andrews Bowen (specialist sports surfaces)
  • Aquila Partners (HR and management development)
  • GVS (investment and strategic consultancy)
  • GV Finance (asset finance)
  • International Venue Management (event management and operations)
  • Spectacle Partners (reputation management and communications)
  • The Sports Consultancy (commercial media agency)

Notes to Editors
Global Venue Services (GVS) is a provider of advisory, investment, interim management and business services to the sports, leisure, media and entertainment sectors. It was launched by Simon Bazalgette and Paul Fisher, who until the end of 2019 were the Chairman and Chief Executive respectively of Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK’s largest racecourse group. Bernard Kantor, the co-founder of Investec Bank, and Trevor Watkins, the UK’s leading sports lawyer, have joined the GVS Advisory Board. More information can be found at

Simon Bazalgette[email protected]
Nick Rust[email protected]