Hughes: Channel 4 Racing lost the fun factor

Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes: we need to see more horses and hear fewer opinions

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By Richard Hughes 9:40AM 22 OCT 2016 

THE big problem with Channel 4 Racing over the last couple of years is that it has not been any fun to watch.

If you are broadcasting live racing one of the fundamentals is to get the message across to the viewers that the sport is fun.

I used to enjoy John Francome’s quick wit and the controversy that John McCririck would always spark. I knew people who weren’t remotely interested in racing who would actually watch The Morning Line just to be entertained by the two Johns.

Soccer AM does the same thing. I’d imagine many of its regular viewers don’t even watch football later in the day, yet they tune in every Saturday because the presenters make it fun.

Yap away

There is too much talk on Channel 4 Racing about facts, betting odds and the opinions of too many people.

Who really wants to be told that because a horse is drifting in the market it’s perceived as a negative to its chance in the race? I certainly don’t.

When you watch Channel 4 Racing now it is like walking into a betting shop and listening to various pundits on something like Ladbrokes TV talking about the day’s racing.

They yap away, but the brutal truth is that very few people listen. That’s exactly what Channel 4 has become.

Matt Chapman will inject some welcome fun into the ITV coverage next year, as will Jason Weaver, who is a really funny guy with a sharp wit. He makes a good double act with Luke Harvey. Some people like them, some don’t, but few would argue they don’t provide good entertainment.

It will also be good to have the expertise of Brough Scott once again. He speaks the English language so well – certainly much better than me – and I’ve always enjoyed listening to him.

Beauty of the thoroughbred

We need to see more of the horses and hear less of people’s opinions about them. I rode well over 2,000 winners and am around horses every single day of my life, yet I’m still fascinated by the beauty of watching them canter to the start in slow motion like they show you on French TV.

ITV should learn a lot from the French coverage. Their close-up shots are beautiful.

Television should showcase the beauty of the thoroughbred. More close-up shots of horses in slow motion are needed to convey just how gorgeous the thoroughbred really is.

Read the views of Richard Hughes during the Flat season and Sam Twiston-Davies during the jumps season in the Racing Post on Saturdays

 
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