Sport

Friday 1 August 2014

Frankie Dettori joins Channel 4 in time for Royal Ascot

Published 11/06/2014|15:57

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LINGFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22:  Frankie Dettori leaves the weighing room before riding Eco Warrior to win The coral.co.uk Median Auction Maiden Stakes on his comeback ride after breaking his ankle at Lingfield racecourse on January 22, 2014 in Lingfield, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Frankie Dettori

Channel 4 Racing has announced that Frankie Dettori will join its presenting team for Royal Ascot and the rest of the Flat season.

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Dettori, three times a champion jockey and one of the most recognisable faces in the game, is retained rider for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, one of the new driving forces in racehorse ownership.

The Italian famously rode all seven winners on the card at Ascot in September, 1996.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the Channel 4 Racing presentation team for the Flat season and look forward to starting work next week at Royal Ascot - the racecourse that catapulted my career back in September 1996 when I won all seven races," said Dettori.

"I've been talking to Channel 4 about this opportunity for a while as I have always enjoyed its racing coverage and I am delighted to be able to give viewers an insight into the great thrill of our sport."

Dettori joined Clare Balding for a short stint at Epsom on Derby day and the channel's lead presenter said: "Frankie is a great communicator and personality and would be an asset to anyone's coverage. He'll bring energy, insight and enjoyment."

Ed Havard, Channel 4's head of live events and special programmes, said: "Frankie Dettori is known to millions both inside and outside the sport of racing and his record as a jockey speaks for itself. We're delighted that he's joining Clare and the Channel 4 Racing team, not just for Royal Ascot, but also across the rest of the Flat season.

"Royal Ascot is one of the highlights of our year and we are continuing to invest in this incredible event across the channel and across the business to showcase the spectacle of Ascot for our audiences."

Channel 4 saw its peak audience figures for the Investec Derby dip last weekend, but Ascot chief executive Charles Barnett saluted its "unprecedented investment" in this year's showpiece.

He said: "Channel 4's investment in this year's Royal meeting is unprecedented, with the usual high standards of racing and event production to be enhanced by a bespoke fashion element fronted by the acclaimed Gok Wan.

"We really are in a very privileged and sometimes overlooked position in the UK, in that our major meetings and Saturdays are covered so extensively on terrestrial television by Channel 4. To have all the races on terrestrial television at any meeting is almost unheard of - perhaps just Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia.

"We are the envy of the world in terrestrial television terms, including in Australia where they don't get close to the 90 days Channel 4 cover, and this is in no small part down to our broadcast partners who clear the decks to put racing first - the addition of Future Champions Day to this year's calendar of live events being a perfect example."

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