Dapper: Rich Ricci is in Australia for the Melbourne Cup

Dapper: Rich Ricci is in Australia for the Melbourne Cup

Business may be slow in the City of London right now, but there is absolutely no shortage of excitement for Rich Ricci.

The self-titled ‘maddest f***er on the planet’ is in Australia ahead of Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup – which has been dubbed ‘the race that stops a nation’.

The former co-chief executive of Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank, who now runs broker Panmure Gordon and is known for his tweed suits and trilby hats, will no doubt have a few bob on his horse Vauban.

The five-year-old gelding is a former Triumph Hurdle winner at Cheltenham who romped home in this year’s Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot.

The fabulously rich Ricci – who named one of his racehorses Fatcatinthehat – may be a little bit disappointed by the odds as Vauban is currently set to start as the favourite.

But the colossal £2.3 million first place prize – one of the biggest in racing – is not to be sniffed at.

Bloomsbury in fantasy land 

Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury reported corking results last month, and said it was hunting for acquisitions, especially in academic and professional publishing. 

But it also seems open to investment into another boom area – genre fiction. 

Boss Nigel Newton said in an interview that fantasy was an area ‘that we’re interested in developing’, as was sci-fi. 

If the firm learned anything from the Potter series, it’s that more dragons and magic never hurt.

Altman relaxes with Mario and fizzy drinks 

Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, the owner of artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT, was one of those in the UK for the AI safety summit last week.

Altman’s online persona is light-hearted. Days before the critical meetings, the 38-year-old said on X – in as many words – that he was about to play the new Mario game with friends who were bringing fizzy drinks.

Scroll back far enough and you find that in 2015, months before he and other tech tycoons launched OpenAI, he turned to the public for help deciding which TV show he should watch.

He had just finished Battlestar Galactica – a programme about artificially intelligent robots that destroy their human overlords.

Perhaps it’s time for a rewatch, Sam.

Freedom of City of London for Hoggett

Applause all round for Julia Hoggett, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, who was given the Freedom of the City of London last week.

Bestowed by the lord mayor, it is one of the Square Mile’s ancient traditions, and sees Hoggett join the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Stephen Hawking.

She is a natural recipient of the honour, having been a financier and a regulator. And her role as chairman of a taskforce looking at how to make London more competitive could leave a strong legacy.

But the gong’s timing may have raised eyebrows. After all, under her watch, the City has this year grappled with an alarming exodus of firms turning their backs on the LSE for the US. Awkward.

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