Racing: BBC lose Lingfield to Channel 4

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The Independent Online
The BBC's retreat from racing continued yesterday with news that the corporation have lost coverage of next year's Lingfield Derby Trial meeting to Channel 4, who now have a monopoly of the key prep races for the Derby.

The track had been associated with the BBC for more than 10 years. Now Channel 4 will televise four meetings from the Surrey course during 1998, including all-weather racing on 3 January and a new `Winter Derby' meeting on 21 March.

Roger Easterby, Lingfield Marketing Director, said: "Originally the BBC covered four meetings here. Over the years this has whittled down to two and next year they wanted to cover just the Derby Trial, which meant us losing coverage of the late May meeting.

"We have decided to go with Channel 4 Racing as not only will we get at least three meetings covered in 1998, but we have the opportunity of building a relationship that may well lead to further coverage.''

Clare Balding is to front BBC TV's racing coverage from next year after she was confirmed as the successor to Julian Wilson yesterday.

Coral yesterday opened a book on the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. The firm make the reigning champion One Man a 7-4 favourite.

KING GEORGE VI CHASE (Coral betting): 7-4 One Man, 7-2 Suny Bay, 4-1 Simply Dashing, 9-2 Mr Mulligan, 12-1 Barton Bank, 16-1 Rough Quest, Trying Again, 25-1 Lonesome Glory, See More Business, 33-1 Djeddah.