Now in its second season, the Racing League has certainly divided opinion amongst punters and pundits alike.

Whether it makes it into a third season remains to be seen, but let’s dissect what the Racing League currently offers up before we then look at the pros and cons of the product as a whole.

Racing League – What Is It?

The Racing League returned in 2022 with seven regional-based teams competing over six late summer fixtures.

The inaugural competition in 2021 saw 12 bizarrely named sponsored teams, including obscure cocktail bars, do battle over six Thursday evening meetings, with team TalkSport coming out the victors at Newcastle Racecourse in September.

This season’s format, which launched at Doncaster at the beginning of August, saw regional teams take part, made up of Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, the North, the East, Wales and the West plus London and the South.

Each field is capped at 14 runners and there are two participants from each team in the race.

The league operates with a points-based system with 100 points in total available to play for in each race.  The winner grabs 25 points, while points are awarded all the way down to tenth position which picks up a single point.

Six of the seven races each week are 0-90 handicap contents for three-year-olds and above, while the other contest is exclusively for two-year-old horses rated 0-85.

The handicaps carry a £50,000 pot for every race, while the two-year-old’s compete for £25,000. The overall prize-money for the league was boosted in 2022 by an additional £200,000 to reach an overall level of £2 million.

2022 Racing League - The Numbers:

  • 7 - regional teams

  • 6 - Thursday night fixtures

  • 2 - runners per team in each race

  • 25 - points awarded to winner of each race

Racing League – Positives:

  • In the current era of poor prize money in UK horseracing, further exacerbated  by a cost of living crisis, the 42 races that make up the Racing League are paying out decent dividends to those connections who are lucky enough the scoop the prize pots.

  • The series itself has received terrestrial television coverage from the UK national broadcaster ITV, which is no bad thing in terms of exposure for the sport of horseracing and helps keep things relevant.

  • Each-way betting for horse race bets online has been readily available.

Racing League – Negatives:

  • The concept of team racing has still not fully captured the imagination of the general public - even after two years, with some of the evenings not even being able to attract 1,000 paying customers through the gates.

  • On several occasions the full field quota of 14 has not been achieved, thus making a slight mockery of the two competitors per team format.

  • In-running punters find it extremely hard to pick out their chosen horses when they are not competing in their traditional owner’s silks.

Racing League – Personal Opinion:

I personally have found the Racing League a difficult betting medium and viewing experience.

As well as struggling to identify my own selections during the races, all the emphasis on the commentary is around “Team this, Team that”.

To most punters, this means absolutely nothing to them and is quite distracting when trying to follow your bets home.

In my opinion The Racing League struggles to capture the imagination of punters and patrons alike because they don’t really “dig” or grasp the team element to it.

For many horse racing followers, the Shergar Cup event is quite enough “team horseracing” for one season at a time, and a second dose of it isn’t really required.

It would be great if the same levels of sponsorship could be channelled across a broader range of grass roots racing though. Perhaps that’s something for the future?

If however the National Hunt season is more your cup of tea, then please check out all our Cheltenham Races betting odds here.


*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*

 

FIRST PUBLISHED: 20th September 2022

About the Author
By
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.