Handover on 27 December

Channel 4 ready to run its last race

sport-horse-racingThe Coral Welsh Grand National meeting at Chepstow on 27 December will mark the end of a 32-year relationship between horse racing and Channel 4.

Racing takes place at Newbury on New Year’s Eve, but the meeting will not be included in the broadcaster’s schedule .

This is because of ‘logistical difficulties’ in the handover of third party broadcast equipment to ITV which takes over on 1 January.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “Channel 4 is proud of our 32-year association with British horse racing. Over this period, we have continually delivered above and beyond our contractual requirements.

“We have delivered more coverage of racing than any other terrestrial broadcaster and our investment in award-winning weekly coverage has delivered a 10 million audience for the Grand National and numerous innovations, from the jockeycam to the horsetracker.

“Our final racing broadcast will be on Tuesday 27 December and will retain its strong production value.

“We would like to thank the horse racing industry for 32 fun-filled and dramatic years and wish them the very best for the future.”

ITV has paid £30m over four years to take on the contract and has already upset print journalists by stating that they stay out of camera shot in winners’ enclosures.

Journalists are often seen gathering around winning jockeys, trainers or owners to listen to interviews on camera.

But the Racecourse Association issued a statement saying: “In the immediate post-race scenario, ITV want a clean shot of any connections being interviewed, specifically not including journalists putting microphones in shot, nor standing in shot during such interviews.”

Among those signed up by ITV are Ed Chamberlin, who has been lured from Sky Sports football; Francesca Cumani, the daughter of Derby-winning trainer Luca, and former champion jumps jockey Sir Tony McCoy.

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