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Horseracing body hires H&K after Panorama expose

LONDON - The British Horseracing Board has hired PR agency Hill & Knowlton as an adviser, just months after a BBC documentary about corruption in racing.

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The BHB says it has hired Hill & Knowlton to advise on parliamentary and public affairs, as well as in relation to an ongoing Office of Fair Trading inquiry.

The British horseracing industry was put on the back foot last October following a 'Panorama' documentary called 'Corruption in Racing', focusing on the Jockey Club and highlighting alleged associations between senior jockeys and criminals, as well as issues such as doping.

The British Horseracing Board is one of various bodies in the racing world looking at how the industry can be improved.

In a statement about Hill & Knowlton's appointment, Greg Nichols, chief executive of BHB, said: "The culmination of BHB's Racing Review and the announcement of the OFT's views will present great opportunities for racing. It is vital that the governing authority should adopt a highly professional and focused approach to its management of all the issues that lie ahead of us.

"The Racing Review has given us the opportunity to consult with a huge range of people within and outside racing and Hill & Knowlton's skills will ensure that the momentum behind these essential communications activities is maintained."

In December last year, the BHB named former Telewest marketer Chris John as marketing director, replacing Teresa Cash, who left in 2001 to run a sports marketing agency.

H&K is briefed with supplying political lobbying and monitoring services, as well as providing the secretariat for the Parliamentary All Party Racing and Bloodstock Industries Group. The PR team is led by James Hunt, managing director of corporate and business communications, and the public affairs team by Simon Miller, director of public and corporate affairs.

The BHB is British horseracing's governing body, and responsible for representing the industry's interests to the government as well as liaising with the betting industry.

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