It’s all change for the Grand National. First the move to Channel 4, the trialling of new fences and then the announcement that John Smiths was to end their sponsorship. So with so much going on, Channel 4 have decided to let the public in on their plans for televising the biggest steeple chase in the world on April 6th 2013!
Carl Hicks, is the man in charge and the former BBC Sport producer is heading up a young team of presenters and production staff that will cover racing round which includes 88 racedays plus 62 editions of the Morning Line which will include shows each day from Aintree, Cheltenham and Royal Ascot.
That’s more than a whopping 300 hours of horse racing coverage that the newly established Channel 4 team are hoping will appeal to all sports fans not just those racing enthusiasts among us.
And they plan to do it with some new swish technology including a rebranded portable studio that has new touch-screen technology to assist in the analysis of races. There will also be new graphics, logos, an impressive virtual finishing line, and a liaison with the official judge, who is given the opportunity to announce his verdict to a TV audience as well as those on-track, to heighten drama following a close finish.
But make no mistake, Channel 4 may have have brought in the necessary experience as well as state of the art technology but if the 2013 Grand National itself doesn’t go off without a hitch, criticism will be sharp and swift.
Following the deaths of two horses in 2012, all concerned are hoping that with the newly modified fences that things go a lot better on April 6th. Hicks said “The race faces it’s biggest test. We all have our own reactions and the sport is taking it very seriously. But we have to remind the viewers that the Grand National is a dangerous event, and that racing is a dangerous sport.”
Let’s just hope that the preparations for the 2013 Grand National are as superb as ever and that this years race is as exciting and dramatic as ever, without any controversy or unfortunate incidents that mar the day.