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The Horse Racing Channel has today announced that it will be on air this weekend. It’s launch date of 29 May at 1pm means that it will be up and running in time to show coverage from Kempton Park, Doncaster, Musselburgh and Cartmel.

The channel, which has been renamed Racing UK has the backing of 30 out of the country’s 59 racecourses, and expects to show as many as 4,000 races each year, and be on air for between 5-8 hours on race days. Summer highlights will include live coverage of the Vodafone Derby next weekend, the July Meeting from Newmarket, Glorious Goodwood and the St Leger Meeting from Doncaster.

Racing UK is wholly owned and managed by the 30 racecourses, many of which have backed the project from its outset, when Attheraces went off air in March. Viewers will be delighted that the channel is up and running in time for the Derby meeting, especially since UK horseracing has been virtually absent from television screens for almost two months.

Project Director of Racing UK, Andrew Brown, said: “Racing UK will bring the best of British racing to TV viewers in the UK and beyond. We are looking forward to going live on Saturday and establishing Racing UK as the broadcast home of British horseracing.”

This comes as the latest news in the battle of the broadcasters, and puts Racing UK firmly back in the running. The Sky-backed new At The Races momentarily had the upper hand earlier this week when they announced a launch date of 11 June, as well as the signing of popular racing pundit John McCririck.

Sky’s racing project has the backing of 26 racecourses, and Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races, believes that John McCririck’s name adds to a very serious prospect:

“We are so pleased to have John McCririck on board.” Matthew said on Tuesday. “He is an expert in racing and TV and he’s synonymous with the sport; not just to those on the inside but to millions of viewers and sports fans. He is able to popularise the sport and help to fuel its growth.

“It’s another big step towards the return of live UK racing on TV; in the space of a week At The Races has announced a start date, a production team and a highly respected, well-known face,” he concluded.