The summer months sees Channel 4 broadcast horseracing's finest from the two-day Investec Derby Festival, to Royal Ascot, QIPCO British Champions Day and more. 21 Saturdays, six mid-week Festivals, from 47 racecourses and some 223 televised races makes for a superb summer of sport exclusively on Channel 4.
Following the acquisition of the entire UK horseracing terrestrial rights for 2013 - 2016; the first blue riband event - the Investec Derby Festival - returns to Channel 4 following a 12 year sabbatical.
As part of the build-up to The Derby, Clare Balding's Secrets of the Suffragettes, airs on Sunday, May 26th at 8pm and marks the centenary of the "Suffragette Derby" when Emily Wilding Davison stepped into the path of the King's horse and was fatally injured. Although the act itself was captured in horrific detail, a century on, mystery and argument surrounds the story behind it: what exactly Emily Davison intended to do on the track that day; and what drove her to take action this reckless in the first place.
Working with a of team forensic experts, Clare analyses former footage, re-examined the evidence and, astonishingly, believe they may have made new discoveries that will change our view of what really happened on that fateful summer day. Along the way, Clare uncovers the story of Emily herself and finds out how a middle class Governess from a genteel family became a radical activist.
On the eve of the Investec Derby, Clare Balding will appear on Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Friday, May 31st at 10pm) where the BAFTA award-winning duo will discuss their golden gongs, sport and national treasure status.
45 cameras will be deployed around Epsom for Channel 4: Investec Derby Festival (May 31st & June 1st):
A helicopter and a tethered blimp will give an overview of the Downs.
Jibs and camera cranes will provide a dynamic view around the Parade Ring and Downs, whilst low level cameras will be put in place to show a low re-run of the classic Oaks and Derby contests. This will give a perspective of the undulations of this unique, stamina-zapping track.
The Channel 4 studio will be positioned on the inside of the course alongside the winning post and will be built into the racecourse's branded finishing line area. The team will employ virtual cameras and graphics to highlight race distances and the finish of each race.
Royal Ascot is the next appointment, from June 18th - 22nd, when Channel 4 Racing picks up the reins for the first time ever.
Channel 4's racing coverage across the five-day Royal meeting will incorporate over 31 hours of live action with six daily races plus a feast of programming to support the occasion. Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's Sports Editor, explains: "For the first time ever, all six races are being shown on terrestrial television, which is brilliant because every race on the card at Royal Ascot deserves to be on that platform. And, we will be supporting the event with an hour of Morning Line daily plus there will be a highlights show every evening - the most exposure given to any horseracing event on terrestrial television.
"Our flat showcases meetings provide all the drama and emotion of a world class sporting events. . The benefit of our four year deal for year-round coverage of the sport is that we can continue to innovate and change the way we broadcast racing, and hopefully how people view the sport. The team head to Epsom, Ascot and other tracks with relish."
Channel 4's dedicated summer racing team combines familiar and first time faces. The incomparable Clare Balding presents alongside Nick Luck with Jim McGrath, Mick Fitzgerald and Graham Cunningham to provide unrivalled analysis from a newly introduced track-side studio that provides wonderful views from Britain's elite racecourses.
Newcomer Gina Bryce joins Rishi Persad and Emma Spencer as roving reporters. And, with unique access to the Stables, Jockeys Changing Room and Steward's Room, all the atmosphere from racing's classic meetings combined with informative features, ensures that Channel 4 viewers are closer to the action than ever before.
Channel 4's principal commentator, Simon Holt, will experience one of his busiest summers to date with Channel 4 on-course for some 38 racedays. Tanya Stevenson is also on hand to relay the betting markets with award winning writer Alastair Down completing the line-up to deliver daily essay-style preview packages.
Channel 4's digital platforms will also provide a comprehensive racing service across the summer season to support viewers' experience. Multi-media live text commentary, a Channel 4 Racing App, Horse Tracker and more are available at channel4.com/racing
Channel 4 Racing is live every Saturday with the Morning Line at 7:55am followed by afternoon racing and broadcasts all major mid-week Festivals:
May 31 & June 1: Investec Derby Festival
June 18 - 22: Royal Ascot
July 11 - 13: Newmarket July Meeting
July 30 - August 3: Glorious Goodwood
August 21 - 24: York Ebor Festival
September 12 - 14: Doncaster St Leger Meeting
October 19: QIPCO British Champion's Day