Tue, 07 Apr 2020
ITV presenter Oli Bell has praised Newbury Racecourse and believes that it is “one of the fairest tracks in the country”.
The 33-year-old, who spent time working with Racing UK before joining the ITV team, has worked at the racecourse on many occasions and enjoys his time there.
“Working at Newbury is great because it has everything for us as a team at ITV,” he said. “You have got The Lodge where we stay, which is on site, and the staff are brilliant.
“The course is brilliant and in terms of the venue, nothing looks out of place, despite the fact there are lots of things going on there.
“The racing is really fair, it is high standard and the course is immaculately turned out – from a racing point of view, it’s probably one of the fairest tracks in the country.”
Horseracing runs in the Bell family, with his father Rupert being a commentator and his uncle Michael a trainer.
He said: “From a personal point of view, my first memory of Newbury was when Red Evie won the Lockinge Stakes because she was my uncle’s horse and she won at every level imaginable.
“But there are lots of good horses who have won at Newbury and when you go through them, like Frankel and the Kingman, it’s no surprise they go on and prove themselves to become the best.
“It why I think the Newbury trials, which we won’t get this year, are good to follow because the best horse normally wins.”
The Ladbrokes Trophy, formally known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, is the feature race of the year at Newbury and Bell believes Denman’s performance in 2009 was magical.
He said: “Denman’s Hennessy was unbelievable and one of the best performances I have ever seen in my life – probably the best actually.
“We haven’t had a Denman or Many Clouds line up in it and I hope we can get that type of horse in it again.”
The Ladbrokes Trophy is due to take place later this year and Bell is hoping to have a runner in the race.
“It’s a horse called Two For Gold,” said Bell. “He is a talented horse. He didn’t run at Cheltenham, but we like him a lot and I think if he goes there he will have a chance.”
With the jumps season likely being cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak, Nicky Henderson will become champion trainer – beating Paul Nicholls to the accolade.
“He has had another terrific season,” Bell said. “It was obviously disappointing with Altior, but other than that, he has some amazing horses to look forward to.
“It’s Henderson and Nicholls and [Willie] Mullins and [Gordon] Elliott in Ireland and that is the landscape we’re in at the moment.
“It’s credit to them all that they can consistently perform at a level that they do year after year and the Henderson/ Nicholls battle is fascinating and something that is big all the way through the season.
“In Lambourn, it’s not just Nicky Henderson that gets up and does the work because he has loads of staff and plenty of people that help him and they deserve a great amount of credit.”