Nick Luck: has been the lead presenter on Channel 4 Racing
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Lee Mottershead 7:55PM 15 JUL 2016
CHANNEL 4 Racing’s last goodbye could be made sooner than previously expected after it emerged the broadcaster is seeking to extricate itself from a contractual commitment to bow out at Newbury on December 31, one day before ITV takes over as the sport’s new home at Cheltenham.
The prospect of the first Saturday in years without a scheduled racing programme on mainstream television looks real with Channel 4 understood to want three decades of continuous racing coverage to end at Kempton and Chepstow on December 27.
Both Newbury and Racecourse Media Group (RMG), which leads TV negotiations on behalf of tracks, are involved in ongoing discussions with Channel 4.
RMG and Newbury point to Channel 4 having previously agreed to present a double-header programme on December 31.
Welsh National exit planned
Channel 4, however, is keen go out with more of a bang. That would likely be easier if final farewells are made at Kempton, which will be hosting the second afternoon of the William Hill Christmas festival, and Chepstow, whose Coral Welsh Grand National fixture would, ironically, have ended the BBC’s even longer association with racing in 2012 had it not been abandoned.
RMG’s director of racing Ed Gretton said: “Channel 4 are scheduled to cover Newbury on Saturday December 31 as their last racing programme and we anticipate that this remains that the case.”
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We are still in discussions with RMG about our closing stages.”
Read more on Channel 4 Racing plans in Saturday’s Racing Post – or download the iPad version from 8pm on Friday