20 (21) Simon Clarke and family £275m (£190m)

It’s been a year of profitable change for Staffordshire’s Simon Clarke. The biggest change has been the sale of Northern Racing in which he and his family were the major shareholders, along with his St Modwen property group.

Northern Racing, based at Dunstall Hall near Burton-on-Trent, is the owner of nine racecourses around the country including Uttoxeter, Hereford, Fontwell and Bath. Simon Clarke had a non-executive role as deputy chairman until the sale of the company to property tycoons David and Simon Reuben in a deal worth £66 million.

Profits at Northern Racing for 2006 were slightly down at £3.41 million compared with £4.23 million, not helped by an increase in abandoned fixtures and the football World Cup. Sales revenue increased to £31.5 million.

Dunstall Hall continues to be the headquarters of Northern Racing, though the magnificent hall itself - formerly the home of Spinning Jenny inventor Sir Richard Arkwright - was sold to former racehorse trainer and breeder Barry Morgan.

Now Simon Clarke, aged 42, is able to take a more active part in the running of the Quinton-based St Modwen, the company founded by his late father Sir Stan Clarke who died in 2004.

Under chairman Anthony Glossop, St Modwen is making progress despite some softening of property yields. Its latest results show profits up to £96.9 million from £82.4 million. The Clarke family owns 28.3 per cent of the company - a stake worth around £200 million.

St Modwen is involved in many high profile projects, none more so than regenerating the Longbridge site following the collapse in April 2005 of MG Rover. Lettings of speculative units on the Longbridge site are going well.

St Modwen is also involved in major town centre regeneration projects in Hatfield, Basingstoke and Wythenshawe, and other major developments in Accrington, West Ruislip and Quedgeley in Gloucester.

One of the company’s major projects - the £40 million retail and residential development of the St. Matthew’s area of Walsall - suffered a major setback with an arson attack in August which destroyed Shannon’s Mill in George Street. Insurance should make sure there are no financial losses but the scheme has been significantly delayed.