News & events

Seconds Out: Oli Bell's Monthly Blog

Wednesday 22 February 2023
Seconds Out: Oli Bell's Monthly Blog

Hello RaceSharers, many of whom I have now met!

That is because we recently hosted our first owners’ stable visit and we all went to Malton to meet Red Mirage! I hope all those who came enjoyed the day as much as I did. Not only was it terrific to see Red Mirage up-close looking fantastic, but to see his personality as he was taking in each and every owner as he paraded in front of us all. I can see why his trainer John Quinn said he needed an experienced rider because he’s an enthusiastic type, and I’m sure that attitude will stand him in good stead come race day this season, which it sounds like could be as early as April.

As well as meeting Red for the first time it was so good to meet and chat to all the owners in the sunshine! As I’ve said before and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there really is nothing quite like a big group of people coming together with the same common interest. It was clear that friendships were being formed right from the start and I have no doubt that we will all be on various WhatsApp groups chatting about the races throughout the season. Bring it on!

The warmth of the day for me was highlighted in two moments. Firstly, when Ross, Olivia and I were filming a piece to wrap up the day’s events and Gavin who was the last owner to have his picture with Red Mirage walked past. Ross, like all good journalists, stopped Gavin for a chat and to hear him explain the fun he had on the owners’ day and his enjoyment of RaceShare was terrific. I am slightly fearful for my job though if I'm honest because he is far too good on camera for my liking!

Secondly, chatting to Matt in the pub after and hearing him say that he got quite emotional seeing the horse and meeting the other owners. It really was lovely to hear and is what RaceShare is all about. So on behalf of all of us, thank you to all the owners who turned out for the day, and we look forward to hosting plenty of days out in the future.

Two bits of housekeeping before we move on, firstly, a HUGE thanks to John Quinn and his team for their amazing hospitality. They went above and beyond and we cannot thank them enough for welcoming us in with open arms. I’m sure you will agree but win lose or draw we are going to have a lot of fun with them this year! Secondly, if anyone knows a lightweight portable sound system then please email the team. I had to carry the world’s heaviest sound system from the front yard to the back yard whilst also trying to keep up with John pointing out all his talented horses. I think I have put my shoulder out because of it so any advice will be appreciated!

As you all know I’m sure this is a very busy time of year for us in racing because Cheltenham is now just a couple of weeks away and that means a number of preview nights and filming days in the lead up to the best four days of the year! Then it’s down to business with the ITV team for what is always an amazing week. I really do feel like a kid at Christmas the night before it all gets underway, although this year I HAVE TO get a good night's sleep on Monday because The Opening Show is extended to an hour and a half each morning – from 8.30 until 10am.

As a team, the ITV gang all stay about 30 minutes outside of Cheltenham, I don’t really know why in truth, but it’s a good little spot and it’s great all staying together. As you can imagine it is very much, get home, and start thinking about the next day’s show/racing so unfortunately I can't say there are too many interesting things happening outside of work, although in year one I did miss the bus one morning after missing my alarm. Thankfully I didn’t get the sack.

As a team I must say we are very lucky because we do genuinely all get on. It’s interesting how the dynamic has changed through the years but everyone knows each other so well now that we all understand everyone's quirks and how they like to work so it is very much a smooth ship in terms of how it all operates. I have a lot of good friends who work behind the scenes so I often spend my time after the shows chatting to them before crashing. Ed and Richard Hoiles are very good at the stats so they are normally squirrelled away studying hard. Chris Hughes is on Tinder. AP is signing autographs. Luke is at the bar. You get the picture!

We do all understand the important role we have to play though because not everyone is lucky enough to attend the meeting so our job is to try and bring it to life for our audience at home. We’re very lucky to have a really talented team behind the scenes, led up by multiple BAFTA award winning director Paul McNammara, BAFTA winning producer Richard Willoughby and for the Opening Show, Tim Williams who is a bit of a Jude Bellingham. He’s ahead of his time and exceptionally talented. They're all good mates now and working with them is great fun.

I hope you all enjoy the coverage, I know that we won't get everything right all the time, but we will try our very best and I can assure you we have and will continue to work as hard as we possibly can to showcase the best of racing to as big an audience as possible. It is a terrific sport, that as we learnt first hand this week, can unite people from all parts of the country. It is a sport I, and the ITV team, are incredibly proud of and despite a lot of the negativities and controversies in racing currently dominating the headlines we will head to the Festival proud to be involved in racing and hopefully that ‘bug’ that we all have can be passed on through the tele to racing fans, current and new, young and old.

We will see you, I hope, for the online RaceShare preview night the Friday before Cheltenham with myself, Ross, Lydia and some exclusive guests. Until then, stay safe, be lucky and thank you all again for coming the other day. It was a belter!

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Upcoming and past events

Date Event Summary
18 November 2022
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The RaceShare team will be at Ascot on 18 and 19 November at the Shared Ownership Days. This is a great chance for us to meet racegoers and explain...
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19 November 2022
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RaceShare will be sponsoring the opening Novices' Hurdle at Ascot on 19 November. Alongside this, we will have a stand at Ascot's Shared Ownership ...
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