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TV battle is put on hold for Uttoxeter.

HOSTILITIES over TV rights between Channel 4 and the Racing Channel have been suspended on Saturday with the two broadcasters agreeing to divide coverage from Uttoxeter, writes Graham Green.

Channel 4 earlier pulled the plug on plans to cover Warwick the same day after failing to secure an exclusive deal for the races producer Andrew Franklin wanted.

On November 28, Channel 4 had to scupper plans to supplement its Haydock coverage with two races from Warwick because it could not be guaranteed exclusivity.

George Irvine, racing director of the Racing Channel, said last night: "We don't accept that Channel 4 has got exclusive rights, even for Uttoxeter on Saturday, because, as I have said before, we have those rights from the Racecourse Association.

"But we feel that in the interests of the industry to bring racing to as many people as possible on as many platforms as possible, we will let Channel 4 have the races they want at Uttoxeter and we will show the rest of the card.

"As far as I am concerned, the more people who see racing the better it is for everyone, so we are not going to be antagonistic because all that will do is turn people against us."

The Warwick experience is a blow to Channel 4's ambitions to screen a double-header every Saturday as the basis for a new Superbet.

Racecourse manager Lisa Rowe said she was "disappointed and frustrated'' that hopes to host Channel 4 this Saturday and January 9 had floundered with the failure to settle the issue of exclusivity.

But she added: "They will be here on Warwick National day on January 16 and again on February 20 because those dates come through the Channel 4- Cheltenham racecourse contract."
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Greene, Graham (English writer)
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 16, 1998
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