Channel 4 is using its final few months as the home of UK horse racing to bring race fans at least one day of exclusively live fixtures every weekend between now and New Year’s Eve.
Next weekend (October 15th) the broadcaster will show live coverage of British Champions Day at Ascot, followed by races from Doncaster, Cheltenham, Newbury, Ascot and Wetherby over the following two weeks.
In November the channel will pack in six days of coverage, with highlights including races at Cheltenham, Haydock and Aintree.
Coverage continues throughout December, starting with Sandown and Aintree on the 3rd and building up to the the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day (Monday 26th December).
The broadcaster bows out after 30 years as the sport’s TV home on December 31st when it’ll show Newbury’s Challow Hurdle card.
Those looking to make some money on a race – a great way to cover or recoup the cost of the annual Christmas shopping spree! – can get a bonus code for 2016 guaranteeing them 100% bonuses on wagers of up to £200 when placed at bet365.
And, if you’re quick, its also possible to bag a risk free bet of up to £50 on live Channel 4 races.
Don’t waste any time in claiming the second of these offers – the sport is moving channels in 2017 after ITV scooped exclusive free to air rights starting from January.
ITV’s deal with the sport’s rights holders – including Racecourse Media Group, Jockey Club Racecourses, Ascot, British Champions Series and Arena Racing Company – runs four years and will see the broadcaster show at least 94 fixtures per year.
A minimum of 34 of these will be aired on the main ITV channel, with the remainder being shown on ITV4.
As well as live race coverage, ITV will screen a magazine preview programme broadcast each Saturday morning on ITV4.
Reports suggest the deal, which was a major blow for Channel 4, cost ITV in excess of £30m.
This is a welcome windfall for the sport’s authorities but a fairly modest lay-out for ITV which has been looking to boost its line-up of major sporting content since losing rights to the UEFA Champions League to BT Sports last year.
Scheduling problems following Channel 4’s decision to grab Formula 1 rights are also said to have contributed to the channel’s loss of racing. If so executives are likely to regret their move as the motoring contest will move exclusively to Sky at the end of 2019.
In June ITV announced that Ed Chamberlin will be the main presenter of its horse racing coverage.
According to the broadcaster, the former Sky Sports presenter will front coverage across both ITV and ITV4, bringing continuity between the two channels.
In a statement released by ITV earlier this year, Chamberlin said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining ITV and to be given this great opportunity. These are exciting times with ITV returning as the home of British racing from 1st January 2017.
“I had 16 years at Sky full of great memories and brilliant people. It was hard to leave but this opportunity was too good to miss.”