Mixed response to new-look Channel 4 racing coverage

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  • The new-look Channel 4 Racing coverage is dividing opinion among H&H readers, a month into its revised format.

    An updated team of presenters and a new production company — IMG — took over the racing coverage on 1 January (news, 1 November 2012).

    Clare Balding heads the presenters and has proven popular with members of our Facebook site and the H&H online forum.

    Clare took to the helm for the first time on Saturday (26 January) for Festival Trials day at Cheltenham — her first live raceday reporting since presenting British Champions Day for the BBC in October.

    But many mourn the loss of John Francome, Alastair Down, Derek Thompson and Mike Cattermole from the coverage.

    “There is very little character and personality to the presenting now,” said H&H reader Karen Easterbrook.

    There are also complaints about the reduced focus on the horses in the paddock.

    “There is far too much studio and betting,” wrote one H&H forum user.

    Channel 4 told H&H the programme comfortably attracts “over half a million viewers most weeks”.

    Some racing fans are positive about the changes.

    “The Morning Line has livened up considerably,” said one. “The afternoon shows are promising and we’ll know more about the way the show is going come Cheltenham.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (31 January, 2013)

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