Racing to enjoy new twilight Sunday slot on ITV with launch of The Sky Bet Sunday Series

ITV, Sky Bet, Racecourse Media Group, Musselburgh, Haydock Park and Sandown Park are delighted to collaborate on the launch of The Sky Bet Sunday Series, which will showcase the sport in a twilight slot on terrestrial television this summer.

The three seven-race cards – most with 25-minute gaps between races – will be showcased in their entirety on ITV, and prize money has been significantly increased to £600,000 (from c. £150,000) across the three Sunday fixtures.

The Series comprises:

  • Musselburgh 25th July – 1545-1900 on ITV4
  • Haydock 8th August – 1545-1900 on ITV4
  • Sandown 22nd August – 1545-1915 on ITV4

The Series, which will be hosted by Oli Bell on ITV racing, will endeavour to delve behind the scenes and uncover the less-told stories about what goes into preparing a horse for racing and what goes into staging a raceday itself, as well as features on the grass roots, such as pony racing. It will also present a chance to showcase horses, trainers and jockeys who don’t often get the limelight.

Oli Bell from ITV Racing says:

“We are delighted to be hosting three days of terrific Sunday racing in the summer which will give viewers three bonanza weekends of terrestrial racing. We are particularly looking forward to showcasing ‘behind the scenes’ activity to engage viewers at home with all the participants involved in a race day, both equine and human, and racing at its grass roots. It’s really important to us that we recognise the bigger and smaller names in the sport as well as the owners and stable staff and this series gives us a great opportunity to continue to do that on ITV.”

Steve Birch, Sky Bet CEO, says:

“Sky Bet are excited to support the racing industry in this new venture showcasing high quality racing on a Sunday evening broadcast live on ITV.  We want to work more closely with the racing industry to grow this great sport – and this collaboration is a clear step in the right direction bringing together racecourses, media rights owners, horsemen and operators for the wider benefit of racing.”

Nevin Truesdale, Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, which runs Haydock Park and Sandown Park racecourses, says:

“We think there’s a huge amount of merit in The Sky Bet Sunday Series and are excited to see what it can achieve. For some time, it’s felt like there’s more we can do with Sunday racing and with the support of ITV, Racing TV and Sky Bet hopefully the series will be appealing to racing fans. We’re delighted that Jockey Club Racecourses can be part of it through fixtures at Haydock Park and Sandown Park this summer.”

Bill Farnsworth, MD of Musselburgh Racecourse, says:

We are excited to be included in this new series, which creates racedays with fantastic prizemoney across the three racecourses.  We look forward to working with the series partners on some of the exciting innovations, which will hopefully attract new spectators and viewers to British horseracing.”

Ed Gretton, Director of Racing at Racecourse Media Group, said:

“It has long been the view of many in the industry that the sport does not make enough of the opportunity of Sunday racing. We see this as a pilot scheme focused on providing good quality racing and betting opportunities in front of a terrestrial audience, and hopefully it will be a prelude to an expanded series in 2022. RMG racecourses are delighted to be part of the launch of The Sky Bet Sunday Series and RMG’s TV channel, Racing TV, will also be getting behind the series.”