Chris Baker was crowned the winner of the Racing UK’s Tipstar competition at Cheltenham on Friday.
The 33-year-old, a deputy headteacher from Nottingham, was the unanimous winner among the three judges who were presenter Dave Nevison, Sky Bet’s Michael Shinners and last year’s winner Harry Allwood.Baker was the unanimous winner among all the judges
Lydia Hislop worked alongside all six finalists on the day and also had a say in choosing the victor, who got the nod over (in alphabetical order) Danny Archer, Tommy Barnes, John Begg, Joe Eccles and Izzy Phillips.
Baker’s first prize includes £1,000, a punditry shift on Racing UK, a magnum of champagne, a £250 free bet with Sky Bet and a year's subscription to Racing UK.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “Well done to all the guys just getting to the final. It is a fantastic achievement. Everybody has been brilliant, from what I have seen.”
Baker was the first of the six to be live on the channel and said: “I was probably the only one to enjoy the buffet lunch by getting my race out of the way. It’s been a brilliant competition. We’ve all got on really well and everybody has wished each other’s tips well.”
Nevison said: “In many ways Chris had the most difficult job, even though he had a four-runner race. The fact that the horse did not win, but more of less did what exactly what Chris said it was going to do in term of its style of racing is what clinched it for me.
“Special mention also to Joe [Eccles] who put up the 9-2 winner, which was fantastic. The great thing about Tipstar is that it is a great fun day and is part of the Racing UK autumn calendar now, we all look forward to it.”
Baker’s interest in racing was triggered after he began betting with small stake football accumulators. He says his ambition is to work within the racing industry and that is why he entered the Tipstar, where viewers sent in 30-second clips of themselves in action over a six-week period.
“I became determined to teach myself everything I could about all aspects of racing from simple things like understanding the card to more complicated things like breeding lines,” he said.
“Most of my spare time is dedicated to my passion for racing and I have become increasingly keen for something more to come of my hobby.”