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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Luke Harvey and Oli Bell offer their views on which code is best

Jumps versus Flat: Luke Harvey and Oli Bell
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Why the jumps is best: Luke Harvey

I genuinely like racing across the board but obviously as an ex-jump jockey I've got a bigger affection for jump racing because it's where my roots are. Whether it's Flat or jumps, everyone likes the top-class racing like Royal Ascot or Cheltenham, but I must say that if I have to pick between the two, I'd much rather watch bad jumps racing than bad Flat racing, which can be more tedious.

I really enjoy watching horses race around places like Stratford and Worcester in the summer, when the meeting can have a point-to-point feel about it.People get too worried about the quality of the horses – if they're of similar ability, you can get a good race.

Worcester: great place to watch racing in the summer
It might not be a prestigious occasion at Worcester or Lockinge point-to-point but you can watch a good race and have a lot of fun, whether it's 0-95 handicap hurdle or the Imperial Cup.

I always have a laugh with Jason Weaver and say it must be easy to ride on the Flat because all you have to do is point them in a straight line, but I have to admit I've ridden in the Leger Legends race and there's a bit more to it than that. I've hardly ever been in the stalls and I was crapping myself!

Why the Flat is best: Oli Bell

Show me someone who would prefer to cower under a stand on a cold and rainy winter's day instead of basking trackside in the sun with a cold drink in hand and I'll show you someone probably being economical with the truth.

The Flat season is well and truly under way, and for me – aside from the occasional England collapse at Lord's, or buying stupidly overpriced strawberries Wimbledon – there’s nothing more quintessentially sporting about our summers.

Don't get me wrong, I love the thrills and unpredictability of our beloved National Hunt racing – but in the same breath, very little can match the drama, big-day buzz and adrenalin-rush of those stalls opening, the crowd responding and then hearing the thunder of dozens of hooves pounding the surface in an exhilarating burst for the post. Hopes and dreams can be dashed or made in a matter of seconds.

The Queen: a welcome sight on the racecourse
As a racing fan, the first experience of seeing and hearing a Flat race is a memory you will never forget. It's a sport that can welcome the Queen into the winner's enclosure and 30 minutes later a syndicate put together in the local pub are collecting the first prize.

The variety only adds to the drama. No other sport can boast such a chequered and regal history, so if it’s good enough for kings and queens dating back nearly 400 years, then it’s more than good enough for me.

Are you a Flat fan or jumps devotee? Email to join the debate - with the best answers published on on Sunday

The debate continues on

I've hardly ever been in the stalls and I was crapping myself!
E.W. Terms
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