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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Racing fans greet Irish racing TV move with dismay and anger

Daily coverage of Irish racing will be shown on Racing UK from January 1, 2019
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Friday's shock announcement that the daily broadcasting of Irish racing would switch from At The Races to Racing UK in 2019 has prompted a huge response, with racing fans making their feelings known on social media.

Reaction ranged from those worried about the impact on Irish racing to fears the expertise of ATR would be lost, but although the reaction was varied the underlying response was overwhelmingly negative.

Here's a flavour of the social media reaction:

Many were angry about the move to a subscription channel

"Younger generations/working-class priced out of watching most racing and they wonder why it's a dying sport" MP (@MPetrie96)

"Dreadful decision for the future of the sport. Only the die-hards would subscribe to RUK for the Irish coverage now. So much for loyalty to @AtTheRaces and @MCYeeehaaa for their superb support & coverage of Irish racing over many years. Sad day." Ed Johnson (@eddiej25)

"Real shame as it means I and a lot of other people won’t get to watch Irish racing any more. Don’t want to pay £20 a month for RUK. Not great ahead of the Sky Sports Racing rebranding (if that is still happening). You would have thought they would have wanted a strong product." Andrew Peers (@apeers85)

Those concerned about the loss of audience

"The sport once again shooting itself in the foot by reducing the opportunities for growth to a wider audience. ATR have done great things in bringing entertainment to the sport, which in turn drives a bigger and more mainstream audience. Racing continues to remain behind the times." Jack Teague ‏(@JackWTeague)

"That's the end of interesting, informative, entertaining, broad-based coverage of many aspects of Irish racing. Having subscribed to RUK and had the experience!!..I would imagine I will be one of thousands...that will NOT be watching Irish racing in 2019 – sad day for Irish racing." Peter Byrne ‏(@macardles1)

Some felt this was a decision based on money

"RUK far better coverage but it’s a shame for ATR. But money talks, look at Sky and BT Sport." Rich Sullivan ‏(@richrich1981)

Others feared RUK would struggle to handle the extra content

"Only problem I have is more split-screen races, Saturdays will be a nightmare. Will need RUK1 & 2." Mark Fenton ‏(@flimper)

Those bemoaning the loss of ATR

"Can't see RUK interacting with Irish racegoers as well as @AtTheRaces currently do." Kenny G (@pottyplace)

"It’s a staggeringly bad decision and an unwarranted slap in the face for the excellent team at @AtTheRaces." Emma Berry (@CollingsBerry)

And those in favour of RUK

"Fantastic news – RUK pictures miles better, with far less delay, more professional presentation & Chapman free. And all this rubbish about ATR being free, it isn’t, it’s in a Sky bundle with MTV & Cartoons that costs over £10." Richard Poole ‏(@TopDiv)

"Better coverage, excellent news." Racing Writer ‏(@TheRacewriter)

Have a view on this shock switch? Join the debate on Facebook or e-mail your thoughts to


Dreadful decision for the future of the sport
E.W. Terms
Sky bet