RACING is lucky to have two dedicated channels that enable all meetings in Britain and Ireland to be covered live, particularly as terrestrial TV, notably the BBC, seem intent on being even more selective in what they show.
At The Races is free to air for Sky subscribers on 415, while Racing UK is available on 432 at an additional cost of £15. This is good value, especially since it teamed up with Setanta which also gives customers access to their all-sport channels. Initially, I must admit I didn’t think two racing channels would survive, but At The Races have bolstered their rather weak offering in this country, compared to their rivals, by signing a contract to screen all the action from Ireland.
From a racecourse presentation point of view, my view is that Racing UK have several lengths in hand of At The Races in terms of overall quality.
Last Saturday, At The Races had the picture rights for Ascot, the jewel in their crown, and their other Grade One track, Newcastle, Understandably, concentration was given to the Berkshire card featuring the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. However, how they could dismiss Newcastle’s Beeswing meeting with only coverage of the actual races is beyond me.
It’s important that both channels have personnel at racecourses whenever possible. It’s a public relations exercise as much as anything and Ladies Day on Tyneside was a missed opportunity.
For my money, the Newcastle snub was a poor editorial decision by those who run the show in London and it’s not the first time that At The Races have turned their backs on High Gosforth Park for one of the feature days.