With the BBC recently foregoing it’s rights to air horse racing, including the annual renewal of the Aintree Grand National, and the subsequent news that Channel 4 had won the right to televise it instead, many questioned whether or not the same format and indeed presenters would be used.
It would appear that in a bid to make the transition as smooth as possible, Clare Balding has signed up with Channel 4 as lead presenter for the broadcaster’s coverage, which will feature the 2013 Grand National and Royal Ascot for the first time from next year.
Channel 4 has also announced that it has awarded IMG Sports Media the four-year production contract for the corporation’s exclusive horseracing coverage from January 2013.
Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s sports editor, said: “Clare’s arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team. Quite simply she is the sports broadcaster of her era and for her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting.”
Although she has shown herself more than capable of covering other sports, Balding is delighted that she has the opportunity to continue presenting horseracing.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team.
“Racing is my ‘home’ sport and I am delighted that I will still be part of its coverage on TV. I am excited by Channel 4’s plans for their coverage and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses.
“I look forward to working with IMG Sports Media who have a high quality reputation for sports programming.”
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