BETTING ODDITIES: Milking the Cotswold Cow

ODDITIES is back after a short hiatus / siesta / intermission – would love to say I’ve been on a round the world cruise but just working hard (honest guv) with the small matter of the triumvirate of the Royal Ascot, Euros and Greyhound Derby stars aligning.


The inevitable news has been confirmed that Jockey Club Racecourses are looking to extend the Cheltenham Racecourse to five days.

I say inevitable as I am in no doubt it will happen (new grandstands have to be paid for) and I’m also certain that they won’t stop there. Six days, Seven, quarter horse racing on day Ten ?? All absolutely certain, IMO, in the future.

From a rough straw poll to the news I would say opinion is 80/20 against and that’s being generous – it might be more.

Even trainers (who you would assume would be one of the benefactors) have come out more negative than neutral telling the Racing Post:

Alan King: “I don’t think it’s necessary. You’d dilute the quality, I’m surprised. Personally I’d prefer they didn’t.”

Paul Nicholls: “My view is four days is enough, end of story. Four days is plenty.”

Personally I’d go back to three days Tuesday-Thursday with the emphasis ONLY on quality and not £ signs.

It’s clearly never going to happen … in the same way to reinvigorate interest in the Derby I’d switch it back to a Wednesday – but as an evening meeting.

Saturday racing schedules are already saturated to the detriment of the sport. I’ve never believed a race every two minutes is an endearing quality and that’s before you factor in competing against major events in other sports.

Less really can be more. Carefully chosen slots that show off the ‘Olympics’ of horse racing.

If you dilute the tonic too much it ends up tasting of, er, nothing.


I thought ITV did a great job, in the main, at Royal Ascot. Getting terrestrial coverage of 35 races shouldn’t be taken for granted, nor should the fact that they are back in business this weekend for the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

I can remember when TV contracts were being negotiated there was talk for a long time of ITV only covering the ‘crown jewel’ events of the year Ascot, Epsom, Cheltenham, Goodwood and very little else…. so we’ve come a long way in the right direction.

Full marks to ITV for giving excellent coverage of the dramatic stewards enquiry into the Commonwealth Cup. Endless head on replays, good discussion and live pictures of the stewards enquiry were exactly what was needed at that point in time and they delivered.

The ‘Who Is Lady Swinley’ segment was cringeworthy and awkward on every level but otherwise they covered what, this year, was a ‘hybrid’ meeting very well. And great news too that they are covering 14 races from the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar live this year.

Less positive report for Sky Racing who didn’t appear to even know Friday’s card was going ahead despite being on the ACTUAL course and the BHA tweeting it 10 minutes earlier ! The decision to play a tape and not stay with the inspection and bring the verdict exclusively live ahead of ITV (who were not yet on air) was simply editorially insane.

Ascot had a huge slice of luck getting their Friday card on. Further illustrated today when nearby Windsor were forced to abandon their evening card after more than 63mm of rain since Wednesday evening. GULP.


So, shares in supermarket group Morrisons have surged by more than 30% today after it rebuffed a takeover offer worth more than £5.5bn.

I would just like to put on record that I am formally advising that as of today I am rejecting any joint takeover from Apple and Amazon. Thank you.


A contender for the ‘Most Overpriced Food Item Served In Restaurant Awards Compared To Material Costs’ or the more snazzy MOFISIRACTMC’s for those in the know 😉

NB: This is a betting without sushi market.

Step forward SEAWEED. The Chinese restaurant starter which is ostensibly a tiny amount of cabbage sprinkled with, er, sugar. Ludicrously overpriced.


DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.