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More evening evidence for ITV after Friday Newcastle audience peaks at 361,000

An audience of 361,000 saw Smart Call win the Hoppings Stakes on ITV4
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ITV has more evidence with which to assess the future of evening racing coverage after figures for Friday's Newcastle programme showed a peak audience of 361,000 viewers watched Smart Call win the night's feature event.

In an addition to the network's agreed schedules, Sandown's Brigadier Gerard Stakes card – the best evening meeting of the year in Britain – was televised on ITV4 in May, with the success of that venture leading to four races being shown from Newcastle on the eve of the track's Northumberland Plate card.

While the latest peak was down on the Sandown high of 407,000, ITV is understood to be pleased with the ratings for the programme, during which the numbers watching the four races increased from 229,000 to 273,000 and 336,000 before reaching their top end with the Group 3 Hoppings Stakes. 

Oli Bell, who anchored the Newcastle coverage, in which he was joined by Jason Weaver, Luke Harvey and commentator Mark Johnson, said: "Broadcasting from Newcastle on Friday was brilliant. The racecourse team could not have been more welcoming and there was a great crowd with some really good racing."

A peak audience of 708,000 watched Withhold win the Plate on ITV's main channel, slightly up on 703,000 last year.


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The racecourse team could not have been more welcoming and there was a great crowd with some really good racing
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