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Morning blues remain but ITV4 gains first rating win over C4

Francesca Cumani, Rishi Persad (right) and Jason Weaver were on duty for ITV Racing at Chester last week
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Racing on ITV4 posted a figure bigger than that achieved by Channel 4 on a corresponding day for the first time on Saturday.

The news may go some way to allaying fears over viewing figures when racing is shown on ITV's sister channel.

However, ITV4's ratings for Chester's May meeting were well down on those secured by Channel 4 during its farewell tour, while the surge in viewers for the one-off main channel appearance of The Opening Show on 2,000 Guineas morning was not repeated last Saturday.

More encouragingly, ITV4's 150-minute coverage from Ascot, Lingfield and Haydock drew an average audience of 349,000. This was just short of Channel 4's 364,000 in 2016, but ITV4's peak of 479,000 topped Channel 4's 465,000.

Child’s play: ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlin was joined by a few intruders at Chester

At the same time ITV4 was showing racing, a repeat of the film The Man In The Iron Mask attracted 500,000 viewers on ITV, while a sixth-round tie in rugby league's Challenge Cup pulled in 657,000 on BBC1.

Saturday's edition of The Opening Show netted an average of 86,000 viewers on its regular ITV4 home, compared to 207,000 for The Morning Line 12 months ago.

One week earlier The Opening Show, which fell to 62,000 viewers when televised from Sandown at 8am on April 29, had hit a personal best of 198,000 switched to the flagship ITV channel.

That same day ITV's afternoon coverage of the 2,000 Guineas towered over Channel 4's in 2016 by 578,000 to 355,000.

Across three days at Chester, ITV4 averaged 169,000, a long way short of the 242,000 managed by Channel 4.

The surge in viewers for the one-off main channel appearance of The Opening Show on 2,000 Guineas day was not repeated last Saturday
E.W. Terms