Monday 22 October 2018

Racing UK deal 'drags racing further from public'

Trainer Robbie McNamara. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Robbie McNamara. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

On the eve of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival there was shock and anger at yesterday's revelation that Irish racing coverage will sensationally switch to Racing UK from At The Races starting in January next year.

This bombshell development creates massive uncertainty for the profile of Irish racing in Ireland with trainer Robbie McNamara among many to express his displeasure at the news believing that the deal is "dragging Irish racing further and further away from the general public".

Meanwhile, RTÉ Sport and Horse Racing Ireland have agreed a new deal which increases live coverage ensuring that Irish racing fans can continue to watch the most prestigious days in the Irish racing calendar free-to-air on RTÉ television and RTÉ Player with 25 and 27 days of live Irish racing coverage expected each year for the next three years.

Mourning Elsewhere, the racing world is in mourning following the death of multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson with jockey Brian Hughes leading the tributes to the 71-year-old.

Hughes said: "He was a great trainer who had some lovely horses. From my own point of view, he has been a massive influence in my career, probably more so than anybody else. I rode a lot of winners for him and like everyone else I will miss him greatly."

Jefferson's daughter Ruth will take over the training licence at Malton and will saddle Special Catch and Only Orvieto at Wetherby today.

The colours of rugby legend Ronan O'Gara were successful as Downdraft pleased punters when the 10/11 favourite shed his maiden tag at Dundalk last night.

The Camelot colt was making it third time lucky for the O'Brien brothers, Joseph and Donnacha, and the latter kept it simple to win from the front.

Irish Independent

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