Golden Horn won the Arc in 2015
PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER (racingpost.com/photos)
By Lee Mottershead 7:28AM 3 SEP 2016
VIEWERS without access to At The Races or Racing UK are set to miss out on Postponed’s attempt to win the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after Channel 4 took the decision to drop Europe’s most prestigious prize.
As was the case in 2012, when the BBC axed the Arc in its final year of televising British racing, the sport’s latest soon-to-be former broadcaster has opted to shun the French spectacular, insisting a move that will disappoint fans was taken purely owing to costs.
“We are not going to be showing the Arc,” a Channel 4 spokeswoman said yesterday. “As the race is this year being staged at Chantilly there were inflated media rights costs. Channel 4 therefore took the decision not to cover the race and to instead focus on British racing.”
Channel 4 viewers last year watched Golden Horn and Frankie Dettori winning what may turn out to have been the final Arc shown on mainstream television, depending on whether ITV chooses to pay for a contest that, although adored by racing devotees, invariably delivers poor ratings.
That was the case last year when Channel 4’s mammoth five-race programme attracted an average audience of just 288,000 and a peak of 574,000, both down 20 per cent on 2014.
Channel 4, which took over coverage of the Arc in 2013 – having also given it a home between 1986 and 1995 and then again in 2001 – has lost its contract to televise British racing to ITV, which formally unveils its new racing team on September 16.
The Racing Post recently revealed Hayley Turner, Rishi Persad, Mick Fitzgerald, Oli Bell and Sally Ann Grassick have all been offered positions by ITV, whose output will be fronted by Ed Chamberlin, with Francesca Cumani working as his number two during the Flat season.