Cardiac tests for leading actors in festival opener
ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin will be among those tested
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Cardiac tests for leading actors in festival opener
By James Burn 9:05AM 2 MAR 2017
SUPPORTERS of ante-post favourite Melon will hope to see him post a lofty rating in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle – but an even higher mark could be achieved by others involved in the Cheltenham Festival opener, even television commentator Richard Hoiles.
That is because the race caller, his ITV colleague Ed Chamberlin and trainer Ben Pauling are among those who will have their heart rate monitored by experts during the Grade 1 prize.
In the experiment, organised by Sky Bet, a jockey, stable lad and punter will also be tested, as will the bookmaker's chief executive Richard Flint and radio broadcaster Rupert Bell.
Those being monitored should expect to have a maximum beats per minute heart rate of 220 minus their age, although trainer Jamie Snowden's vital muscle reportedly soared up to 193 when his Present View scored at the festival three years ago.
"I would be interested in the results," says Hoiles, "as I did think I was relatively laid-back, but then someone posted a video of me commentating next to John Hunt during the Champion Stakes – I was shocked by just how animated I was getting!
"I would expect my heart rate to be at its highest towards the finish, and expect it to build throughout the race. If the race was really in the balance that might make the heart rate rise slightly."
Chamberlin reckons his heart will be "beating faster than a child's on Christmas morning", while Ben Pauling, who plans to saddle High Bridge in the race, said: "I'm sure they've got average heart rates for all sorts of things and it'll be interesting to see where mine lies come the start of the race.
"Once they're off I imagine it'll drop because all the pressure will be off, unless we've got a chance two out – then I think it will get a hell of a lot quicker again."
Television doctor Dawn Harper, who is overseeing the experiment, said: "As a racehorse owner myself I fully understand the thrills of being involved in this wonderful sport.
"A bit of excitement from time to time is a good thing but too much of an adrenaline rush can put the heart under strain.
"I will be looking to find out who gets the most excited at racing's biggest week of the year – and whose heart might be under immense stress beneath their tweed jackets."
Sky Bet on Wednesday also announced the firm will refund all losing bets, to a maximum of £20, on the opening race for all four days of the festival.
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