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Smullen admits relief over ‘vitally important’ deal

Leigh Roche on Pat Smullen: "He’s like a second father to me."
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Champion Irish jockey Pat Smullen has voiced his relief over the news that TV3 has won the rights to broadcast ITV Racing from January 1.

This year’s Epsom Derby winner believes it is is paramount for the growth of Irish racing that the major meetings in Britain are televised on terrestrial television in Ireland, and has hailed TV3 for its bold move.

He said: “It would have been a shame if the big races in Britain were not shown on terrestrial television in Ireland and I think it is great that TV3 have taken the initiative to step in and secure the deal.

“God knows this game needs promoting to the general public. There are a lot of people who are not subscribed to the racing channels, or who may not have digital television, so we can’t take that for granted.”

TV3 is set to show up to 50 major meetings next year and has already begun plans to develop a magazine show that would involve its own studio and panelists.

Smullen is an advocate for broadening the appeal of racing to the wider public and feared a lack of British racing on terrestrial television in Ireland would have secluded a lot of potential racing fans.

“We don’t want to be missing those people with our product and thankfully with TV3 stepping up to the mark it will be available to those people to watch and it may even bring some new people into racing.

“It’s vitally important that racing continues to include everybody in order to grow and appeal to the wider audience.

“Hopefully there will be many more big days in Britain for Irish racing on TV3 and, with so much opposition from other sports, this will be a great help in spreading the word of racing.”

God knows this game needs promoting to the general public
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