Rent The Racing Game (1980)

3.7 of 5 from 47 ratings
5h 14min
Rent The Racing Game (aka The Dick Francis Thriller: The Racing Game) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Sid Hailey (Mike Gwilym), a champion jump jockey, had his hand and his career destroyed when he was injured by a horse during a race. His ex-wife's father pulls him out of his depression by asking him to investigate some suspicious deaths and the possibility that someone's planning a takeover at Seabury race course. Sid, together with his friend, judo expert and ex-thug, Chico Barnes (Mick Ford), start investigating and their success in the Seabury case leads to other race course cases: possible fixed races, shady insurance claims, betting scams and a kidnapped stud.
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Jacky Stoller
Dick Francis, Terence Feely, Evan Jones, Leon Griffiths, Trevor Preston
The Dick Francis Thriller: The Racing Game
Acorn Media
Thrillers, TV Crimes, TV Dramas, TV Mysteries, TV Thrillers
Release Date:
Run Time:
314 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
  • Cast Filmographies
  • Writer's Biography
Disc 1:
This disc includes the following episodes:
1. Odds Against
2. Trackdown
3. Gambling Lady
- Special Features
Disc 2:
This disc includes the following episodes:
4. Horses for Courses
5. Horsenap
6. Needle

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Reviews (1) of The Racing Game

Sid Hally and Chico Barnes fighting crime in racing - The Racing Game review by AW

Spoiler Alert

Somehow Dick Francis's racing themed novels never translated well to the small screen and sometimes it's hard to see why as they're cracking mysteries. DF had a huge following and fans still flocked to the books when his son Felix was co-authoring them in the years before Dick died in 2010, but Felix has set out competently on his own using the tried and trusted formula.

This ITV series was short lived - only 6 episodes - assume it fared poorly in the ratings - have no idea what it was up against at the time, but these things happened.

Episodes are: Odds Against, Trackdown, Gambling Lady, Horses for Courses, Horsenap, and Needle. They're standalone stories and aren't too shabby.

There were only ever 3 Sid Halley books (the last one written well after 1979 when these were presumably being written or filmed) and this series I felt did reasonably well in developing the character of retired jockey Sid. Mike Gwilym's portrayal is sympathetic and at times touching especially when he's struggling with the new prosthetic hand. Chico Barnes, the karate expert and his partner in crime made a curious team with amusing banter as they criss-cross the racing world investigating horse related crimes.

Shy well away from the later appalling hash-ups of DF stories featuring Ian McShane as 'investigator David Cleveland'. If you like Ian, wallow instead in the diamond luxury of the later LOVEJOY series instead.

Picture quality reproduction here is rather grainy but don't let it put you off. Sid gets a sympathetic and brave girlfriend ( the pretty Anne Zelda) in one episode so I thought it might go somewhere but she mysteriously never appears again. Interestingly the last episode 'Needle' features the real 3 times Grand National winner Red Rum as a kidnapped racehorse. Now that's class!

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