When the big news broke on Friday that ITV were to take over coverage from Channel 4 of the biggest race meetings, Twitter went into meltdown. Aside from the Daily Mail announcing that the biggest meetings (25 to 40 days worth) will be on ITV 1 and the remainder of the current 90 days of broadcasting on ITV 4, very little is yet known about ITV’s plans for racing over the course of their 4 year coverage.
We were inundated with suggestions for presenters for ITV to take on, so we’ve taken a look over them – some likely, some not so (hopefully!).
A stable at At The Races, Matt Chapman has been described as a “marmite” figure; love him or hate him. Regardless of what you think, he’s a big personality who brings a certain ‘zing’ – or should we say ‘YEEHA’ – to TV screens with his current coverage.
In a day where TV can feel all to sanitized, Matt Chapman offers something different. Hark back to racing in it’s hay days and John McCririck and Willie Carson, and that may be just what the current coverage is missing. He’s won the HWPA Broadcaster of the Year and Racing Post Broadcasters’ World Cup, and he’s openly said to get on Channel 4 racing was one of his dreams so no doubt he’d be more than happy if ITV came calling!
Current odds – 1/1 to be a presenter on 1st show with Coral
Yes…really. What? He wouldn’t be near my list but Coral have installed him at just 5/2 and a quick Google of “Jeremy Kyle horse racing” reveals he’s a big racing fan. Heading up the Stars Royale syndicate (a 102 rated handicapper in training with Nick Gifford) he’s apparently very knowledgable about horse racing.
However, is this really the level racing has been reduced to? He’ll forever be intrinsically linked with the Jeremy Kyle Show and his antics on there, and he admitted in his autobiography that he was a problem gambler which is hardly good publicity. The only thing he has going for him is a big name and for me this would be a desperate mistake for racing.
Current odds – 5/2 to be a presenter on 1st show with Coral
Who doesn’t like John Inverdale? A steadfast feature of BBC sports coverage since 1990, he’s covered massive events including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and the football World Cups on 5 Live. Not to mention Cheltenham Festival.
The Racing Post have described him as a “racing lover”, although Googling “John Inverdale racing” brings up plenty of mentions of him using the c-word live on Radio 5 when getting the words “coloured” and “tinted” mixed up in an interview with Lizzie Kelly.
A genuine household name with a lot of experience, it would be a coup for racing to have a presenter who is regularly associated with the biggest sports racing events in the world heading the coverage.
Current odds – 5/1 to be a presenter on 1st show with Coral
A more than accomplished jockey, hopefully racing can take a note out of Sky Sports book where Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville brought a new edge to analysis having recently left the game. She was the first woman to ride 100 UK Flat race winners during a calendar year, is gaining experience on At The Races’ as a pundit, and is already an ambassador for Waitrose.
We feel she could add a lot to the current team, and 50/1 does seem massive odds. She’s clearly interested in presenting, was an excellent jockey who will still have her finger on the pulse, and with a more experienced anchor alongside her would be a great addition to the ITV team.
Current odds – 50/1 to be a presenter on 1st show with Coral