Who founded Timeform?
Nowadays, Timeform is part of the Paddy Power Betfair Group, but the company was founded in 1948, by the late Phil Bull, who also found fame as a professional gambler. While studying mathematics at Leeds University, and after graduation, Bull developed a technique for statistically analysing races times, which eventually formed the basis of mail order tipping service, known as the ‘Temple Time Test’.
In 1943, Bull published a book entitled ‘Best Horses of 1942’ and, following the end of World War II, joined forces with form aficianado Dick Whitford, to create Portway Press Limited, which traded as ‘Timeform’. In 1948, ‘Racehorses of 1947’, which contained an essay and a numerical performance rating for every horse that ran on the Flat during the year, would become the first of 73 volumes to be published, before Timeform closed its mail order operation in 2020. Likewise, the weekly Timeform Black Book, which first was first published in 1948, and the ‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ annual, which was first published in 1975/1976, are now, sadly, consigned to the past. As departing publishing editor Geoff Greetham put it, ‘Nothing lasts forever, but the Timeform annuals have stood the test of time for longer than most and will still remain as a permanent written history of the sport.’