The Saviour of Greek Racing

Making progress and facilitating change in racing can be tough and time consuming. Doing it in a challenging economic environment makes it tougher still. With that in mind, the strides being made in Greece, where the racing industry had fallen to its knees, is both admirable and encouraging.

Making progress and facilitating change in racing can be tough and time consuming. Doing it in a challenging economic environment makes it tougher still. With that in mind, the strides being made in Greece, where the racing industry had fallen to its knees, is both admirable and encouraging.

The article “Greek racing hoping for revival of fortunes” published in Issue 45 of European Trainer offers a more detailed explanation of the decline of the sport in Greece. The scene at the new venue of Markopoulo, 35 kilometres from the capital, was far removed from the halcyon days of high betting turnover and large crowds at a vibrant track close to Athens.

However, in January, 2016, OPAP (a Greek-based betting company) was granted the licence to organise and conduct racing in Greece. Improved relations with the Greek Jockey Club, who are still responsible for the governance of the sport, have followed, as Costas Alexopoulos, chief of operations, explains. Alexopoulos says, “We have a very close relationship with the Jockey Club now. There have been differences but we cooperate very well.”

With the need for racing in Greece to become a commercial success, OPAP are keen to make the right calls, turning to Fin Powrie, a man with extensive international experience in the industry, to organise and implement a plan for change. The Australian previously worked in Dubai, Bahrain, India, New Zealand, and his homeland. Powrie speaks with enthusiasm about the work being done in Greece and seems encouraged by the progress made since his arrival.

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