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17th June 2004

Today's Racing Tips Challenge

Royal Ascot week is one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Thousands of people placed bets over the course of the week. But just how reliable are Today's racing tips?


Any regular listener will be familiar with the daily horse racing tips, thanklessly provided each morning by our sports presenters Garry Richardson and Steve May. Sometimes they win, occasionally they've been known to lose.

They believe they have a relatively scientific method of choosing (what they hope will be) two winners each day.

Every now and again some listeners email in arguing that THEY could do better.

So in a completely unscientific test,we put some of our listeners to the test along side some of the industry's most respected names (not to mention Garry and Steve).

Throughout Royal Ascot our tipsterspicked the nags they think will come in first place (see the results at the bottom of this page).

After a week of racing, it turns out the our racing 'experts' DO in fact know they're stuff, after weathering a strong challenge from our listeners.


Each participant selected by Todaywas allocated a fictional £10 each day to place two separate £5 bets on any two horses racing at Royal Ascot. The fantasy bet was 'on the nose'... not an each-way stake.



1: Finn and Frank Morgan (aged 5 and 3).

Both boys live in North Yorkshire with their Mum Sandra, Dad Nick and their own personal fan-club (younger sister Tess - 11 months old).

Finn was born in March 1999, he is currently in the reception class at the village school. His interests include drawing, lego, history and lolling listlessly on the sofa. When he grows up he wants to be an actor or a Viking.

Frank was born in December 2000. He goes to the local pre-school. His principal interest is ignoring his parents and driving them to the edge of despair, but he also likes history, wildlife and coarse humour. When he grows up he wants to be a Bionicle (for those without kids, that's a futuristic lego man).

2: Alan Ashton.

As well as being a listener with a keen interest in horse racing, Alan was also the man responsible for the introduction of 'Today's Tips' back in the 1970s during his time as the deputy editor of the Today programme. 30-odd years later, will his tips win the day over the new generation’s offerings?

3: Rob Wright.

As chief tipster at The Times, Rob certainly should know his stuff. Appointed racing editor in 1999, he also won The Racing Post's 'National Press Challenge' in both 2000 and 2001.

4: Sean Lewis.

Sean is a 44 years old media lecturer at Reading College, and has been reading Tarot Cards from the age of 9. His horses were chosen by laying the cards out across an imaginary finishing line. Then he read the first card, looking for links to the names of the horses, the rider, the owner / trainer, or even the colours the rider will wear.

5: Carol Williams.

As the wife of a former bookmaker, televised races at the Williams house are always an interesting affair. Carol chooses horses based on any number of random factors, whilst her husband Graham pays far more attention to the form guide. And the stakes are high ... race results often determine who does the washing up.

6: Cornelius Lysaght.

A familiar voice to all Today listeners, Cornelius is the BBC's racing correspondent, regularly keeping us up to date with the track conditions, runners and riders, plus all the drama of race day. Whenever he really fancies a horse, he wears his 'lucky tie'. With the stiff tipping competition from our listeners, he needed it.

7. Garry Richardson / Steve May.

Just how do Garry and Steve decide on the daily Today racing tips? Your guess is as good as ours, but during Royal Ascot week we putting those famous tipping talents to the test. How did they fare against a racing expert, a tarot card reader and a three-year-old? See below to find out.



1: Rob Wright (The Times): +£90
2: Garry / Steve: +£57.50
3: Alan Ashton: +£29.75
4: Finn and Frank: +13.75
5: Cornelius: -£15
6: Sean Lewis: -£45
6: Carol Lewis: -£45


*** The tipsters' tipster, unsurprisingly, wins, but a creditable 2nd place overall for "our boys"
*** Garry/Steve, Alan Ashton and Rob Wright all had the most wins across the week, at 3 each
*** The longest odds win was 8-1 (Garry/Steve had one at those odds, Rob Wright had two)
*** Listeners Sean Lewis and Carol Williams were the only ones to get no wins at all
*** If you'd made every bet recommended by all the tipsters, you'd be £86 up overall. Sound investment…


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