Clare Balding switches channel as racing secures new TV deal

 

Few of the medal winners she has introduced over the past couple of weeks have gained greater plaudits for their Olympic performance than Clare Balding. There will be corresponding satisfaction on her home turf, then, that she is now to follow its best sport to Channel 4. It is almost as though a new, exclusive terrestrial contract for the cream of British racing could not properly match its remit without her.

The BBC, having run down its racing coverage over recent years, earlier this year finally surrendered the last glittering kernel – including Aintree, Ascot and Epsom – to Channel 4, for a minimum of four years from January. But the lead presenter will remain unchanged, following the announcement yesterday that Balding has signed a deal that will also install her as anchor of Channel 4's coverage of the Paralympics. The contract is not exclusive, enabling her to maintain a diversifying portfolio with the BBC.

The production contract for the sport's new coverage has , meanwhile, been won by IMG Sports Media, beating off competition from Channel 4 Racing's longstanding partner, Highflyer Productions, and Sunset+Vine, praised for its innovative coverage when Channel 4 obtained Test cricket rights. As a result another seasoned pair of hands will be joining Balding, Carl Hicks having joined IMG Sports Media as executive producer after editing BBC coverage of nine Grand Nationals prior to its Olympics coverage.

Significantly, a parallel, four-year extension has also been confirmed in the Dubai sponsorship package credited, since 2008, with keeping any racing at all on Channel 4 – even as the BBC lost interest.

Jamie Aitchison, sports editor of Channel 4, hailed Balding's arrival as a coup. "Quite simply, Clare is the sports broadcaster of her era," he said. "For her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting." Balding herself offered a suitably decorous response. "Racing is my 'home' sport, and I am delighted I will still be part of its coverage on TV," she said. "I am excited by Channel 4's plans and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses."

One of those jockeys, Johnny Murtagh, will see a specialist tomorrow after scans yesterday confirmed he had fractured his jaw in a parade ring accident at the Curragh on Sunday.

Turf account

Nap

Penang Pegasus (3.50 Ayr) Resumed his progress by staying on over an inadequate trip on only his sixth start.

Next best

Alpine Mysteries (2.10 Wolverhampton) Has been allotted a modest rating after learning the ropes in three maiden spins.

One to watch

Alnawiyah (John Dunlop) Shaped nicely on her debut over what will prove a minimum distance at Newmarket.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003