And they’re off! Welcome to the Racing Festival, where the runners and riders are limbering up for what should be a great day of racing. We’ve got a packed race card for you today, with three races that are the perfect test of endurance, stamina and agility for cars of all styles. So, without further ado, let’s look at the card for our first race – the City Shopping Stakes. 2:05 The City Shopping Stakes

This race is the perfect test for our super-minis, built for nipping in and out of traffic, parking in tiny multi-story spaces and being loaded up with bags for the drive home. The punters are liking the look of the Fiat 500 Twinair which, thanks to its good looks and gutsy engine, is the 7/2 favourite with the bookies, but will it be let down by that tiny boot? If it is, then the Audi A1 and the Alfa Romeo MiTo could both be ready to pounce. The MiTo, at 6/1, has a punchy 1.4 engine to take it down the home straight but will that reputation for questionable reliability let the 7/1 Audi steal the show? The Fiesta has to be fancied as an each-way option at 12/1. The Ford has been with us since 1976 and has always been a huge hit, so punters know what to expect here, but the Seat Ibiza could cause at upset at 25/1. The Ibiza takes styling tips from Lamborghini no less and the 1.2TSI engine throws out 105bhp whilst still costing just £30 a year to tax. 2:40 The School-Run Steeplechase Next up, it’s time for the bigger models to move into the starting gate.

There’s a mix here of 4x4s and sturdy family cars here, so it’s anyone’s guess. This mixed field included the school-run favourite, the BMW X5, as our 10/1 favourite alongside other 4x4s including the 14/1 Range Rover and 20/1 Toyota Rav 4, but will those big, cumbersome off-roaders struggle to get off the line? The smart money seems to be going on the 16/1 Subaru Legacy, which combines the advantages of four wheel drive with the streamlined design of a family estate and a throaty boxer diesel engine. Also in the mix are family MPVs like the 16/1 Ford S-Max and the 20/1 Vauxhall Zafira – can their seven seats make up for other shortcomings? 3:20 The Family Hatchback Handicap The Hatchback Handicap is the next race on our card and already, we’ve seen lots of money go on the Volkswagen Golf, which is now our 8/11 odd-on favourite thanks to its undoubted reputation for reliability, range of models, style and residuals.

The price has left punters going elsewhere for value, with the Ford Focus attracting lots of attention. The Focus is one of the most commonly found cars on Britain’s roads and it has plenty going for it, so 8/1 could tempt some. Elsewhere in the field, the Hyundai i30 is attracting interest at 20/1, thanks to its low price and generous spec – much like the Citroen DS4, whilst the Audi A3 clearly has a strong following – the bookies have now cut that to 12/1. It really is an open field though, with the Vauxhall Astra, Honda Civic, Renault Megane and Seat Leon all in with a chance in this wide-open field.