The racing world has been awash with speculation over the past few months with ITV set to take over exclusive rights to broadcast Horse Racing on terrestrial TV from January 1st 2017. The majority of the attention ahead of the new contract has been on exactly who would form the new presenting team and following a host of announcements in recent days, those questions are now starting to be answered.
Ed Chamberlin had of course already been announced as the main presenter for the channel but the rest of the team are now starting to take shape. Francesca Cumani will be on board for the flat season in a presenting role and she brings with her presenting and racing experience with her Dad Luca Cumani one of the most respected flat trainers in Newmarket.
Other names confirmed for the new team include Sally Ann Grassick who has made her name over in Ireland for RTE and Oli Bell, who has been a fixture on Racing UK for some time now and also has racing in the family with classic winning trainer Michael Bell as his father.
Rishi Persad will also move to ITV Racing having previously worked on Horse Racing for the BBC and Channel 4, whilst Mick Fitzgerald will also move from Channel 4 to take up a role in the new team on ITV. Fitzgerald has experience as a top level Jump Jockey as well as plenty of broadcasting experience on Channel 4 and ATR which is likely to have given him the nod.
The addition of Hayley Turner has come as something of a surprise but she is a Group 1 winner on the flat and having recently retired is likely to form part of the flat coverage on the new team.
Long term Channel 4 Betting stalwart Tanya Stevenson is one that won't be making the move to ITV after she failed to land a job whilst the same can be said of Tom Lee who has been featuring on a regular basis in a betting capacity. How ITV deal with the betting side of the broadcast remains up in the air and we should expect announcements of that nature in due course with 2017 edging ever closer.