AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

BETTING ODDITIES: Too much of a good thing?

It’s very hard to fault ITV’s commitment to horse racing which is very easy to take for granted or nitpick over. In an era of competing sports and the fact that racing already is served by two dedicated channels the fact that terrestrial coverage survives beyond the ‘Crown Jewel’ meetings is probably a good shade of odds against.

At face value their decision to extend The Opening Show to 90 minutes over the four days at Cheltenham should be embraced in theory.

However is 90 minutes not now far too long for a programme that is meant to set up the afternoon in a compact bite sized format?

I’ve never really taken to The Opening Show and I think it’s one area that ITV have failed to improve on their Channel 4 predecessors. The Morning Line was always a must watch, could be watched over breakfast and (in my opinion) the perfect length to set up the racing with a few oddities of general chat thrown in too thanks to Big Mac’s newspaper reviews.

Times move on and the cast changes but I fear the real reason for this extension is not so much philanthropy to the sport but more it’s cheaper programming to run a single programme for 90 minutes than it is to fund three separate 30 minute programmes.

Just look at James Martin’s cooking programme on BBC1 on a Saturday morning – it goes on for 57 hours. Starter, main course, dessert and the cheeseboard.

It’s not just TV though. We’re in a world now where media space is unlimited. I can remember my first days in newspapers when I was told exactly how many words to write for a story. You then had to carefully think how to create it and get the salient points in. Beginning, middle and end and all that. A craft.

Now there are no limits – websites can handle 1000 word articles just as easy as 100, YouTube videos can be 30 minutes instead of 10 and so it goes on.

But is it better for the consumer? Or can LESS really be MORE?


Dear Elon Musk AKA Mr Tweet

For the love of God PLEASE sort out the wretched tipping spam and poorly faked Bet 365 betslips that are polluting your platform on every damn thread.

Much Obliged


Here’s one simple suggestion that I think could very easily improve the racing product for the TV viewer and it will cost some white paint and a brush.

Simply paint a line over the grass where the winning line is. It’s the most important part of the whole course and yet often hard to see – compounded when camera angles muddle the picture.

Surely it can’t be that difficult. Although the line painter at Darlo needn’t apply. GULP.


DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist.Β 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.



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