The Opening Show up and running on ITV4

Sat 7 Jan 2017

ITV showcased its latest concept for racing fans when The Opening Show was broadcast live from Sandown Park on Saturday morning.

Hosted by Oli Bell and televised on ITV4 at 10am, the hour-long magazine show's fundamental brief is to set the scene for each afternoon of racing.

Bell was joined by Luke Harvey as The Opening Show previewed the meetings at Sandown and Wincanton, from where ITV4 cameras will broadcast seven live races.

The Opening Show's first guest was jockey Tom Scudamore, who will ride Dynaste in the 32Red Veterans' Handicap Chase at Sandown.

Bell said: "Welcome along to a brand new way to kick-start your Saturday.

"The Opening Show is the best way to begin your racing weekend, and we are thrilled you are able to join us for our debut, live from here at Sandown Park, in Surrey."

The Opening Show has replaced Channel 4's long-running magazine show, The Morning Line, and followed a similar format of previews interspersed with racing features - the first of which focussed upon rookie Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien.

Harvey also fronted a 'Jargon Buster' segment, which was conceived with the intention to demystify some of the more complicated aspects about the sport.

The Opening Show panel also discussed some of the week's most talked-about racing topics during a newspaper round-up, which included an analysis on how minimum riding weights on the Flat have changed in recent years.

Matt Chapman was track-side at Sandown to issue going and betting updates, with weather forecaster Lucy Verasamy at the Esher circuit to provide an outlook for the day ahead.

Racing has returned to ITV after a 32-year absence once Channel 4's tenure as the sole terrestrial broadcaster for the sport ended on December 27.

ITV Racing's first show was broadcast from Cheltenham on New Year's Day and was anchored from the famous winner's enclosure by lead presenter Ed Chamberlin.

Viewing figures on ITV peaked at 831,000, with an average audience of 676,000.

Racing coverage has now been moved from ITV to ITV4, from where it will remain until the Cheltenham Festival in March.

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