Festival heart rate experiment: Jamie Redknapp is the latest name to sign up for Sky Bet’s heart rate experiment at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

Sky Bet is conducting a study at this year’s Cheltenham Festival to see who gets the most excited watching the pinnacle of British horse racing.

With the aim of discovering the effects of excitement when watching elite level sport, Sky Bet will be arming a variety of people with heart rate monitors to record the effects of one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the year, Cheltenham’s curtain-raising Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The results will be analysed by television’s Dr Dawn Harper.

To add to Redknapp’s nerves Sky Bet will also be providing the Sky Sports pundit with a £500 charity bet on the race, with any winnings being donated to Sky Bet’s 2017 charity partner Give A Duck.

Redknapp said: “From playing in an FA Cup Final at Wembley to Jack Whitehall nearly starting a fight in America, I’ve been in some heart-pounding situations in the past so it will be interesting to see how having a bet on the Sky Bet Supreme compares.”

Redknapp will be joining the likes of Ben Pauling, trainer of Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner High Bridge, and Sky Bet CEO Richard Flint in the experiment along with other interested parties in the game from commentators to the various connections of the runners and riders.

Sky Bet ran a trial at Doncaster recently involving jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, trainer Warren Greatrex, a bookie and a punter –with some surprising results.

Despite his cool exterior Warren Greatrex, whose runner Paint The Clouds romped home, discovered his heart rate increased a boggling 134% from 70 bpm at rest to a peak rate of 164 bpm. In contrast the punter was relatively calm and collected, recording an increase in heart rate of 70%.

But whose BPM will be beating faster than a drum & bass track and who will have ice running through their veins when it comes to the crunch at Cheltenham?

Trainer Ben Pauling, who saddles  High Bridge in the opening race, said: “High Bridge is my best hope yet in a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle so I’ll be excited and nervous. Unlike the jockeys us trainers have no way of releasing the adrenalin during a race so it will be interesting to see what the first race excitement is actually doing to my heart without that physical stress release.”

The study on the effect that excitement has on participants in horse racing will be carried out by television’s Dr Dawn Harper. Dr Dawn, well known for presenting Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, will be using the latest technology to record the heart rate data of the participants.

Dr Dawn 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 adrenalin 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 will be recording the resting heart rates of participants and their heart rates throughout the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Data will be analysed for all participants to see who has the biggest increase in BPM from resting heart rate to peak heart rate during the race. Results will be announced as soon as possible after the race.

Sandro Di Michele, spokesman for Sky Bet, said: “With the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle kicking off the week along with the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’, anticipation is at fever pitch, adrenalin is pumping and pulses are racing. With everyone from commentators to punters involved we are intrigued to discover who gets the most excited during one of the most eagerly-awaited races of the year.”

 

Sarah Elsley

Sarah Elsley is a freelance editor and proofreader who is the Junior News Editor for Eclipse magazine. She has a degree in English Literature and is a keen horse rider with an interest in fashion at the races and fiction writing.

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