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Solemia winning last year's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Arc returns to terrestrial television on Channel 4

EUROPE's premier Flat race will return to terrestrial television this year after Channel 4 confirmed it is to become the new home of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Channel 4, now British racing's sole terrestrial broadcaster after grabbing coverage of the Grand National, Derby and Royal Ascot from the BBC, has agreed a "multi-year" deal with rights holder France Galop and plans to show Europe's most valuable Flat prize, plus "several" of the major Group 1 support races on October 6.

Last year's running of the Arc was the first in decades not to be available on mainstream television after the BBC, its traditional partner, dropped the Longchamp race due to consistently disappointing ratings and the corporation's loss of domestic racing rights from 2013 to 2016.

Channel 4 also opted not to take up the 2012 event but stated its desire to this year cover the €4.8 million showpiece, which the network televised from 1986 to 1994 and again in 2001.

Channel 4 sports editor Jamie Aitchison said: "Once we signed the deal to become British racing's exclusive terrestrial broadcaster we made clear that we wanted to show the Arc.

"It was the one great European races that we didn't have and by showing it our viewers will get to see the top horses that have been racing on Channel 4 throughout the season."

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