Live Horse Racing on the BBC

The BBC have been covering Horse Racing for decades and although the amount of live racing on the channel has diminished somewhat over the years it still retains the rights to many of the biggest races and meetings of the year. The BBC offers coverage of racing on TV, Radio 5Live, and the Internet with the Epsom Derby, the Grand National and Royal Ascot the biggest events of the year for the public broadcaster. Each of big events are given extensive coverage by the BBC across all platforms with the Grand National at Aintree the jewel in the BBC Horse Racing crown.

The BBC and Channel 4 are often involved in a bidding war or two when the big terrestrial contracts come up for renewal, the Epsom Derby is currently on the BBC having been on Channel 4 for a number of years. There was a big boost for the BBC recently when they secured a deal ahead of Channel 4 to show coverage of the brand new British Champions Day on the Flat at Ascot each October. It was an encouraging sign for Racing as a whole as the BBC showed their commitment to supporting racing which can only be a good thing when it comes to promoting the sport.

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All the horse racing coverage on the BBC is fronted by Clare Balding who has been doing the role since Julian Wilson retired in 1997; she is from a racing family and as a former amateur Jockey is well qualified to comment on all the major issues. The BBC of course have to tailor their racing coverage to a broader audience than the likes of At The Races and Racing UK who are of course aimed at the more experienced racing punters. Part of the job of the BBC and Channel 4 is to take Horse Racing to a new younger audience to attract new fans and punters to the sport and that plays a major role in their coverage. This is highlighted by other sporting personalities like John Parrott playing a major role in the BBC coverage; the former World Snooker Champion has been the presenting from the betting ring for a number of years and is a fixture for the BBC.

Other Racing Presenters on the BBC include Rishi Persad who is a regular on the team throughout the year; he often acts as the secondary presenter after Clare Balding and can often be found walking the course and checking the ground prior to the first race. The regular expert alongside Clare Balding is former Champion Jockey Willie Carson; he has been alongside Balding (On a Box) for a number of years and is known for his flat knowledge as well as breeding and checking up on the horses in the parade ring. All of the top team are on hand at Royal Ascot with the BBC giving each of the five days extensive coverage each June; it is a vital part of the year for the sport with a extensive coverage given to the event from both the racing to the social side of the week.

BBC Horse Racing TV Presenters

Major Races on the BBC