By Simon Jackson.
Tony Kelly, the Arena Racing Company (ARC) managing director, is leaving the firm in summer to join the Hong Kong Jockey Club as executive director of Racing Business & Operations.
Kelly joined ARC in August 2004 as group finance director of Northern Racing Ltd and was subsequently made group managing director in 2008 after Northern Racing’s sale the previous year.
Four years later he oversaw the acquisition of Arena Leisure PLC and assumed overall control of the newly created ARC and their 15 racecourses – that includes south east tracks Lingfield Park, Royal Windsor and Fontwell Park – in March 2012.
During this time Kelly played a pivotal role in the implementation of the All-Weather Championships Series that attracted 9,021 spectators to Lingfield for Finals Day on Good Friday, an increase on the sell-out crowd of 8,777 at the inaugural Finals day in 2014.
ARC Chairman, David Thorpe, said: “Tony has made a massive contribution during his 11 years’ service and he will be very much missed. The Board and the shareholders wish him every possible success.
“Tony leaves behind a strong and talented management team at ARC which will continue to grow and develop the business. We are in the process of seeking a successor to Tony and look forward to making an announcement in due course.”
Kelly said: “I have had a wonderful 11 years, initially at Northern Racing and more latterly ARC, and I will take with me a multitude of happy memories and experiences.
“I have enjoyed working for David and Simon Reuben and will miss ARC, most particularly the wonderful people in the Company. In my opinion they are some of the most talented and committed individuals working in British Racing.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am incredibly excited to be able to join the Hong Kong Jockey Club and challenge myself in a new and exciting environment.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.