Friday, 27 December 2013

Why can't Channel 4 create another one of their 10+ digitial channels just for Horse Racing?

Why can't Channel 4 create another one of their 10+ digital channels just for Horse Racing?

By The UK Horse Racing Tipster

Today I woke up a bit late, Christmas and all that, however I expected the 2nd day of racing from Kempton Park to be on Channel 4 as it was on Boxing Day. The big race between Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre was on at 14:30 and I wanted to watch it.

I only had about 10 minutes at most to do my usual job of posting free tips and NAPS to my Free Horse Racing Tips Google+ community, LinkedIN and Facebook.

Whilst I do like to automate the majority of the hard work so that when articles come on to the site they are automatically posted through plugins to all my social media outlets I still do like to put some personal touches on various messages.

However when I flicked the TV over to CH4 I noticed that instead of racing they were instead showing Doctor Fucking Dolittle!

I was a bit miffed to say the least. I quickly scanned the myriad of other Channel 4 digital channels including More4, Film4, 4Music, E4 and 4Seven but to no luck. The racing wasn't on TV.

Surely they could have put the 2nd day of the Christmas Kempton Card onto More4, E4 or one of their multiple other digital channels?

It really grates my cheese to have to pay to put a bet on to watch a race if I don't have access to Virgins AtTheRaces channel (or RacingUK's pay channel on freeview). Betting on Betfair is what I usually do but I have to put a minimum size bet on just to watch the race and then the screen size of the video is so small I cannot enlarge it to fit the TV screen when I plug it into my TV.

Why Channel 4 buy the rights to big racing events but don't show them when they have more channels than programming to put on them I don't know

Not only do they have 6 odd digital channels plus multiple +1 hour catch up channels but the majority of the content is either repeats or catchup.

Why they cannot create yet another channel - Channel4 sports - or even Channel4 Racing or E4Racing (to be modern) I don't know.

They have obviously gone all in on the chance to take away the racing classics from the BBC and they have had whole weeks worth of racing with Royal Ascot, Cheltenham and other festivals so why not just spend the money they obviously have and create a proper racing channel we don't have to pay for (apart from watching endless adverts about how sandy and boring Dubai is).

They could have re-runs of great races, commentary on recent races, round talks with jockeys, trainers and owners, visits to stables and all the normal Morning Line chats, competitions and extra guff to fill in the air time around the main events.

Just imagine how a proper Freeview channel like Channel4 showing AW weather racing from dark, damp courses like Kempton during the Winter months could reinvigorate those courses by spreading some money about, getting more quality racing sponsors involved and just by having the CH4 team on course you would bring more people to the courses with spending money for the bookies.

So I was mightily pissed off to find out that my only option to see Sprinter Sacre who I had been waiting all season to watch race Sire De Grugy was to quickly login to a betting site and place a bet at minimum stakes to watch the race. 

Although the sites free tips and NAPS had picked Sprinter Sacre out to win I wasn't going to waste a few hundred quid to win a score at a price of 2/9 on and I luckily I didn't. If you noticed my pre-race comments and tweets I offered the advice that a small wager on Sire De Grugy could be the wise option here.

Today we get to see Sprinter Sacre come back to the scene in the Desert Orchid Chase against Sire De Grugy. His price is very skinny so not worth betting on but an upset could happen and a small wager on Sire De Grugy could be worth having.
So I hopped over to Betfair and threw a £10 on Sire De Grugy at 6.60 (around 11/2) just so I could watch the race by plugging my laptop into my TV and watching the tiny Betfair video screen in a small corner of my TV. Obviously now I wished I had piled right on but at the time I didn't really think Sprinter Sacre wouldn't win in style.

I had no idea Sire De Grugy would win however yet this National Hunt season we have seen so many upsets that anything could happen and basically it has!

Cue Card started off the season with a bad run coming in 3rd behind Somersby and Module before coming back to win The Betfair Chase. He then used the same tactics yesterday in The King George VI Chase and led from the front all the way until the last where joint favourite Silviniaco Conti took over and beat him by 3 lengths.

In the previous big race The New One, the 5/6 odds on favourite was beaten by 1/2 length by My Tent Or Yours (11/8) in the Christmas Hurdle Grade 1 Hurdle. I had a number of bets on yesterday including a win double with My Tent or Yours and Al Ferof and used some SkyBet free cash on The New One and Cue Card. In my article on the big races yesterday I did state that:
My Tent or Yours won his last race when AP McCoy chose to ride him at Newcastle instead of At Fishers Cross.
That was the day At Fishers Cross blundered badly and almost unseated Barry Geraghty, and AP might be the key in the race today if My Tent or Yours is to beat The New One in the Christmas Hurdle.
The New One won his last race, after an exciting double duel with Zarkandar who came back for a second attack after looking beaten, but The New One didn't shine as much as everyone thought he would that day. He could be beaten, and My Tent or Yours is fast enough to do it.
However it was still quite a shock to see The New One fluff his lines on the last jump and AP took full advantage to beat The New One on the line. Whether the roles will be reversed the next time they meet will depend on a number of points but each horse seems as good as the other at the moment.

As for The King George VI Chase, Cue Card set the pace and front ran like he did in his previous winning races and it was only at the end that joint favorite Silviniaco Conti took over and snatched victory with my own horse Al Ferof coming 3rd.

However what really grates me today is the fact that Channel 4 wasn't showing any of the big races!
 I wanted to see Arvika Ligeonniere and Sizing Europe lose to Benefficient and Hidden Cyclone in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.

I also wanted to watch Dodging Bullets beat Grandouet in the Grade 2 Novices' Chase at Kempton. Despite this I was denied.

I know AtTheRaces and RacingUK have most of the racing sown up for the betting shops and online bookies to show to their customers but Channel 4 has the clout and the cash to kick some doors in and shake some heads in my opinion.

Just imagine a Channel 4 racing Channel that wouldn't just show all the festivals from the Flat and National Hunt season in the UK and Ireland but also showed all the big international races such as the Melbourne Cup, The Japan and Hong Kong Cups, The Breeders Cup weekend and other big international races such as the US Triple Crown and Kentucky Derby.

They already show bits and bobs such as the Dubai World Cup and the Prix de l'Arc d'Triomphe so they have their toe half dipped in international waters.

 But how about showing us the Prix Du Jockey Club, The German and Italian Derby and other major European, American and Australian races

Just think with racing literally going on 24 hours round the clock you could put Clare Balding on a plane to Dubai in January and leave her there getting prepared for the Dubai World Cup on the 29th of March.

As for money, just imagine all that advertising revenue the channel would bring in from Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Dubai sponsors and all the other online betting shops. They would be raking it in. The channel would almost pay for itself.

I am sure there are lots of things I have no clue about that lie behind the scenes preventing Channel 4 showing as much racing as they would like but the lack of commentary and re-runs after a race on RacingUK or AtTheRaces down the bookies or on a website like Betfair is totally crap.

A proper Freeview racing channel with analysis, re-runs and catch ups for those of who work all week but want to catch up on the week's top races would be great. 

Nightly catch ups, AW weather and International racing from the USA to Japan would be more than enough content for Channel 4 to show 24/7. 

It would also let late sleepers like myself save having to scramble like a mad hatter to put a bet on just to watch a race they thought would be on normal TV.

Luckily today I came out on top with Sprinter Sacre being pulled up from an apparent irregular heartbeat but that wasn't my plan at all. I just wanted to watch the race!

Trainer Nicky Henderson said afterwards about Sprinter Sacre that:

“They [vets] listened to him when he pulled him up and when he came back in, and there is an irregular heartbeat there. He landed on the back of the fence and Barry said he was empty. He was looking great, he jumped the first very well and his work was unbelievable He is going to have to go for dope tests and then they will scope him and hopefully we will know more later.”

So far this National Hunt season has been full of shocks and I wouldn't be surprised if the World Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup turned out to be the same.

We have seen the supposed great At Fishers Cross gain the "fear" by falling twice in his last two races and last years champion Bobs Worth come 6th in the Betfair Chase after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup. My Tent Or Yours beat supposed new champ on the block The New One and now Sprinter Sacre has been pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase.

Therefore anything can happen this season and if anyone thinks Hurricane Fly or Big Buck's are a sure thing for their own Cheltenham glory you better think again.

Big Buck's hasn't raced for ages and Hurricane Fly's last Grade 1 win which took him over Kauto Stars record was more like a boring Formula One procession - and he still almost got caught by one of his stable mates!

So anything can happen - and I want to see it happen without having to pay bookmakers for small poxy screens with hardly any commentary. Channel 4 pull your socks up and become a real player in this game. It's the only sport you really have left on your channel apart from American Football and who want's to see that crap apart from girls too scared to play Rugby without pads?

So come on Channel 4 help us racing fans out. You are the only big terrestrial player in the horse racing game and you are already devoting a large chunk of airspace to the racing. If you don't want to turn the whole of Channel 4 into a racing channel then just create another one of your existing 10+ digital channels and just show the main racing on Channel 4 and then anything you have left over or can't show live due to licensing or other commitments on the digital channel.

You could even keep the twats interested in random virtual horse racing interested all night long by showing call in and bet racing - a bit like Babestation or those roulette programmes you see at night but without the interesting parts.

It's New Year - give yourself a resolution. You've already swapped John McCririck with Clare Balding so why not ramp up the quality of the horse races you show and the frequency as well? You already have more than enough digitial channels so what's the harm in another one devoted purely to sport or horse racing?
Let me know what you think in the comment section
View the original article Channel 4 - please come to the rescue of racing fans at


  1. You'd think with the advertising revenue from the big bookies paying to advertise during the breaks that a dedicated racing channel could be very profitable

  2. Yes exactly. RacingUk pays for itself by subscription, AttheRaces I dont know but with all that Bookies as cash CH4 could surely pay big bucks if needed to show a race from the other channels and even do some kind of swap where they get certain races and the other channels get access to shows made for CH4 racing like the Morning Line or pre/post race analysis in detail and other special CH4Racing shows like trips to stables, interviews with trainers, jockeys and owners or youngster races and hand n heels races or big international events the others can't show.

    There must be a way!