ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell was called a 'lunatic' by The Queen and dated fellow TV star Francesca Cumani

OLI BELL is familiar to horse racing fans as the fresh-faced presenter of The Opening Show, and will be covering the Cheltenham Festival from March 16 for ITV.

An expert on all things racing and a natural in front of the camera, Bell also hosts a popular podcast with footballer Charlie Austin.


But it was for another reason the 33-year-old made headlines last year, after it was revealed he had split from fellow presenter Francesca Cumani.

OFFERS OF THE DAY

William Hill: Bet £/€10, get £/€50 in free bets (mobile only) – CLAIM HERE

Betfair: Bet £/€10, get £/€50 in free bets (£/€10 now, £/€10 during every day of Cheltenham) – CLAIM HERE

Paddy Power: Bet £/€5 on racing, get £/€40 in free bets (£/€20 now, £/€20 during Cheltenham) – CLAIM HERE

William Hill: 18+. Play Safe. New customers who register via mobile only, using Promo code H50 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 5 x £10/€10, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org

Betfair: Min £/€10 deposit by Debit Card/ApplePay. Min £/€10 Sportsbook bet at odds of Evs (2.0) or more. Free bets valid for 7 days, a £/€10 free bet awarded at bet settlement, £/€10 awarded 16th-19th March. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org

Paddy Power: New Customer Offer. Place a £/€5 single racing bet, min odds 1/5 (1.2) and get £/€20 in free bets. You will also get an additional £/€5 in free bets for each day of the Cheltenham festival (£/€40 in total). Only deposits made using cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. Free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled and are valid for 30 days. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £/€10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £/€10+. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org

 

It was then reported that he was dating jockey, Hayley Turner, before she went public with a romance with fellow rider Nick Scholfied last September.

Bell, whose uncle owns racehorses, was also one jokingly called 'a lunatic' by The Queen when the pair crossed paths at Royal Ascot in 2017.

And least we mention the £30,000 he won playing poker…

KEEPING IT PROFESSIONAL

Ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, Oli and Francesca called it quits on their romance.

It must've had TV bosses sweating, however the pair remained professional to fulfil their duties for ITV.

They began dating in 2018, after Cumani – the daughter of Italian-born trainer Luca Cumani – separated from Australian polo player Rob Archibald.

After Oli and Francesca broke up, he was rumoured to have got close to renowned jockey Turner.

The pair were friends before, and never confirmed whether they were in a relationship or not.

Turner regularly rides for Oli's uncle, Derby-winning trainer Michael Bell, and is now happily loved up with Scholfield.




'YOU'RE THE LUNATIC…'

In 2017, Oli, whose dad Rupert is also a sports broadcaster, was overcome with joy when his uncle scored a winner at Royal Ascot with Blood Orange.

Completely forgetting his reporting duties, he sprinted after the horse once it passed the finishing line from the commentary box, dropping his mic in the process, to celebrate victory.

The next day, Oli was in the paddock interviewing the trainers before each race, when he got a tap on the shoulder from John Warren, the Queen's racing adviser, who told him there was someone he'd like him to meet.

CHELTENHAM SPECIAL OFFER – GET THE FIRST RACE FAVOURITE AT HUGE 50/1 PRICE

Minutes later, Oli saw Queen Elizabeth II walking towards his direction and they were introduced.

"You're the lunatic that ran on the track yesterday?," she said him to which Oli replied, "Yes I am!"

"It was like having a dream," Oli later said. "It was just completely bonkers."


SCHOOL DROPOUT

Broadcasting was always going to be Oli's calling.

From the age of 15, he showed he had a flair for presenting – hosting the breakfast show on his high school's radio station.

A year later, aged just 16, he worked as a live radio reporter at the Burghley Horse Trials, then covered the British Touring Car Championships, as well as the Land Rover G4 Challenge.

At 18, Oli left school and soon scored a job as an editorial assistant with Racing UK, covering major events including the Grand National.

Three years overseas working for Sky Australia broadened Oli's sporting experience, before he returned to the UK with Racing UK and then a job with ITV in 2019.

RICH PICKINGS

A keen sportsman, Oli loves football and cricket – and plays the latter for the Newmarket Racing XI team.

He also played semi-professional football in Australia, while he worked there.



But it's poker that is another of Oli's passions.

For a year of his life, he joined a semi-professional poker circuit and competed in a number of events – one winning very big.

"Poker was my vice in my younger days," he once revealed. "I used to play in some big tournaments, once winning £30,000."

FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Source: Read Full Article