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Five minutes with: ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell *H&H Plus*


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  • Oli Bell has been a presenter on ITV Racing since 2017 and his uncle, Michael Bell, is a top Flat racehorse trainer.

    What’s the last book you read?
    I actually have two books on the go at the moment, one called Save The Cat, which is all about how to write a screenplay. I wrote a children’s book a few years ago, it was a bit rubbish and never got published, but writing interests me. I thought during this lockdown I would do some research into writing screenplays and use the time wisely. I am also reading Notes On A Nervous Planet, which is all about surviving in the 21st century, and tells us not to use technology or our phones as much as we all do. It’s definitely the most reading I’ve done in about 15 years.

    What are your favourite tunes for a road-trip?
    I have quite a varied taste in music. A few months ago, I went to a Teskey Brothers gig in Amsterdam. They are an Australian blues rock band – I would really recommend them. However, the “last played” on my phone is The Weeknd.

    If you weren’t a presenter, you would be…
    Anything related to sport, although I wouldn’t be good enough to be a professional in any sport so perhaps a kitman for Yeovil Town FC, where I grew up.

    Do you speak any other languages?
    Absolutely not! I can remember the odd word from GCSE, but it would be “pidgin” language.

    What’s your favourite country?
    Sri Lanka, I’ve only been there once, but it struck me as a phenomenal country. The people are lovely, the countryside is beautiful and the food is incredible.

    What’s your most annoying habit?
    Probably that I am on my phone too much, hence why I am reading Notes On A Nervous Planet. I think it is something we can all be guilty of these days.

    How many dogs do you have?
    Living in London and with my job, it’s not that easy to have a dog, but I would like one in the future. Growing up we had pugs, so maybe I would get another pug.

    What got you into the most trouble as a child?
    I was always in trouble at school and probably pushing the teachers to their limits. I was mischievous and the class clown.

    What is the best dish you cook?
    Chicken pie is my speciality. It is loosely based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, but I’ve made it my own.

    How are you coping during the coronavirus crisis?
    It’s been all right. Back in the day, I played a lot of poker online, so you could say I’ve been preparing for this lockdown for a while. So aside from playing a bit of poker, I haven’t been doing much else.

    Give us a racehorse to watch for the Flat season…
    I did a feature with Flat trainer Charlie Fellowes and he flagged a horse called Jewel In The Sun for this year’s Flat season, if it goes ahead. He described him as “very good-looking and showing all the right signs”.

    What was your first pony?
    I didn’t have a pony, but I did ride ponies a bit, although I remember getting carted off in an egg and spoon race. I remember pretending to be a jockey on my rocking horse with a pair of goggles on. I won a few Grand Nationals, shame it doesn’t show up on Wikipedia…

    Your favourite tipple?
    As a Somerset boy, I would have to say cider, in particular Stowford Press. Hopefully they will read this and send me a crate…

    Which famous person would you invite to dinner?
    The magician Dynamo. I would probably learn a lot and hopefully he could teach me some tricks to take out into the world.

    If you could have any horse in the world, which would you want?
    Frankel, because I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again. Otherwise, chaser Barton Bank, who won the 1993 King George VI Chase. He was the first racehorse I followed.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 21 May 2020