BETTING ODDITIES: The Relegation League


It’s so easy to knock new ideas in life – there’s generally only one thing worse than new ideas and that’s having NO ideas.

I also don’t want to turn into Compo, Clegg or Foggy as I get older – I fully appreciate that ideas sometimes need to be tried before we find out whether or not they are the next sliced bread. And even then you can get it wrong, even Decca turned down the Beatles.

When I worked as ‘Head Of Betting’ for the embryonic At The Races I was charged with coming up with new ideas that would improve betting turnover in a marketing role. Some ideas bombed and some longer shots worked. When your shareholders are Sky, Channel 4 and Arena Leisure you just hope you come up with more good ideas than turkeys.

All that said, I am struggling to come to terms with the Racing League which sees four racecourses stage a series of 36 handicap races in a glossed up competition between 12 ‘teams’ who will chase over £2 million worth of prize money.

It’s the team element that irks most. The team consists of trainers, jockeys, horses and a team manager. The format is explained here

The shoe-horning of the sport into a team format is really discordant. I can’t think of a sport that is less of a team event.

Horse v Horse
Punter v Bookmaker
Jockey v Jockey
Trainer v Trainer

I can see how the venture was born. ‘Let’s give racing a Formula One / Football makeover.’

Er, let’s not thank you.

Surely this very format goes against the very inclusivity that the sport is trying to promote in this new world.

Having, what some may call an elitist competition, with increased prize money shared amongst the selected few doesn’t really embrace this. It’s also got shades of the breakaway European Super League which left football with a bloody nose.

My biggest fear though is will anyone really care who wins it? Beyond the participants of course – is it really a format that racing fans will take to, bet on or simply care of the outcome?

For that reason, I’m out.

▪️ I may have found an ‘investor’ though. Colleague William Kedjanyi presents the case for the defence in his blog later this week!


First visit to Nandos in the Covid era and there’s been a few changes.

Firstly, you don’t have to queue to order. You order from your table via an app!

Secondly, you don’t need to queue for bottomless refills at the pop machine. You just request service and it’s done for you.

It was actually a BETTER experience. This table service thing could take off.


Tesco (and others) have announced a ‘pre-authorisation charge’ of £99 for anyone paying at their petrol pumps.

The ‘unused’ amount is released back to the motorist’s account within 60 minutes. That’s very generous of them …..

In keeping with this new era, I am now wondering whether the timing is right to demand 1/2 of potential winnings to be paid in advance the bookmaker? Should the selection not cop the punter would be obligated to return the winnings within 60 minutes to the bookmakers account.

What could possibly go wrong?


So, Tom Cruise has been spotted at:

Wimbledon Final
Euro 2020 Final Wembley
British Grand Prix

That’s some luck in the public ballot for tickets 😉


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.