Test Match Sofa
Batsman Smith plans for a racing future
By Robin Hutchison
Wretched weather last summer provided many county cricketers with the chance to build both their biceps and Twitter followers in equal measure. But for Durham opener Will Smith it was an opportunity to spend even longer with his head buried in the Racing Post.
A keen fan of National Hunt racing since his father first took him to Towcester as a six-year-old, Smith follows a long line of dressing room aficionados.
Yet unlike most of his fellow pros, whose interest rarely extends beyond the odd bet or share in a horse, the 30-year-old is keen to earn his living from the sport when he retires. Rather than as a jockey or trainer, it is the lure of the keyboard and microphone that hold most appeal.
As such, he’s currently cutting his teeth as a tipster on the leading betting affiliate website, www.freebets.com, where he offers regular tipping advice in his blog.
His recent, well-received appearances on the Racing UK Channel during a meeting at Kempton and in the studio of a major bookmaker hint at bigger things to come. And for Smith there are distinct parallels between the two sports – both in front of and behind the camera.
He said: “To an extent they’re both niche sports so the people who follow them and write about them are very passionate and knowledgeable. They’re about opinions too, and how you see matches or races developing. I find broadcasting and writing about them fascinating and would love to do it full-time once I stop playing.”
As well as trying to pick the winner of Kempton's King George on Boxing Day, in which he has a strong fancy for 8/1 shot Riverside Theatre, Smith is for now determined to work hard in pre-season training ahead of next summer.
He added: “I’ve come close to getting a thousand runs for the season but not quite managed it. It is a big goal for me as I need to be contributing consistently now as a senior player.
“The County Championship will be very competitive again next year and you can make a case for most, if not all, of the teams doing well. Durham finished strongly last year. Having Paul Collingwood back all summer will make a big difference and I’m confident we can kick on.”
Terms & Conditions
Developed by Proximity Solutions
Proximity PS Web
2007 - 2013