Sky Sports' brand new Racing channel has launched, with a new team and exclusive content all ready to go live on January 1, Sky Sports Racing has announced some of the new faces to be expected on the 11th Sky Sports channel, due to go live on January 1, Alex Hammond, who has spent over 15 years at Sky Sports News, arrives as a full-time lead presenter, while viewers can expect to see former Group 1-winning jockey Freddy Tylicki on a regular basis as a guest analyst. I've been part of the Sky family for over 15 years and know we will bring superb quality to the racing coverage. Commenting on her new role, Hammond said: "I've loved horses since I was a child and to be returning to my roots to present racing on Sky is my dream job.
The channel will be available to all Sky subscribers in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost.
Over the last few years At The Races has provided an in depth, committed and high quality coverage of Irish racing. That development was made known a couple of months ago, much to the rage of Irish racing fans.
The financial hit wasn't the only reason Irish racing followers were irate. At The Races built up a reputation and a bond with Irish racing over the last few years, as it really established itself as the home of horse racing in Ireland.
Their coverage is and has been top class over the last few years. With contributions from the Voice of Ireland, and undoubtedly one of the best and most consistent tipsters in the land, in Gary O'Brien, as well as the likes of Kevin Blake, it was always top class.
O'Brien and co. Luke Harvey, Jason Weaver and Matt Chapman ensured the mood was never too serious and their coverage was always an entertaining watch. With attendances of race meetings across the country dwindling steadily over the last couple of years, the loss of ATR was yet another blow.
Take for example, of a Saturday, when there may be three English race meetings on and two cards in Ireland. What will happen when these races clash?
Another question is whether Irish racing fans will fork out the extra money, given that they're is a degree of uncertainty over the type of service they'll be getting. Suspect more will go to Sky Racing over time despite no Irish racing.
Interesting times ahead.