Bubbly on ice at Wetherby for ten-years of Racing UK!

EARLY DAYS: Rishi Persad presents Racing UK's first day of live coverage from Sandown Park back in 2004.

EARLY DAYS: Rishi Persad presents Racing UK's first day of live coverage from Sandown Park back in 2004.

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WETHERBY racecourse will host a notable party this evening when Racing UK celebrate their tenth birthday.

Upon launching the channel in 2004, CEO Richard FitzGerald admits there were plenty who gave RUK little hope of reaching one year in operation.

Yet FitzGerald reports business to be booming with all sights set on the next ten years at Channel 432, available for one day only today at £10 a month.

Racing UK, which exclusively broadcasts 34 of Britain’s race meetings, will celebrate their first decade with this afternoon’s fixture at Haydock and tonight’s meetings at Wetherby and Sandown. And there will be a fitting face hosting the Sandown action with Rishi Persad strutting his stuff alongside Eddie Fremantle, Persad featuring ten years on from opening the channel’s first live racing meeting from Kempton Park on May 29, 2004.

FitzGerald can remember it well, and the scepticism about a stand alone channel charging £20 for its services.

But the proof has been in the pudding with FitzGerald thrilled with life at RUK ahead of tonight’s celebrations of which Wetherby will be a major part of.

“There were many in the racing industry who did not give Racing UK a chance of celebrating its first birthday, let alone 10th,” said FitzGerald. “Thankfully over the years, the founders, racecourses, executive teams, board members, partners, media and, of course, subscribers have always believed in the business, which is now firmly established as a key component of the industry. Racing UK has come a long, long way since Rishi Persad opened our coverage at Kempton Park on May 29, 2004.

“We have added four courses – including Ascot which becomes the 34th to join the channel in time for next month’s Royal Meeting – grown our subscriber-base to nearly 55,000 and now show 733 fixtures a year – more than any other channel.

“Our coverage has also developed via increased international coverage, features, studio programmes and no intrusive advertising, while the way you can watch has also changed markedly as we continually innovate the product.

“The cutting edge Racing UK Anywhere service allows you to view on three platforms for the price of one, while our website, Apps and social media have also brilliantly showcased our content.

“The business is ever-expanding – as evidenced by the formation of the betting shop and international services, Turf TV and GBI Racing – and through Racing UK’s parent company, Racecourse Media Group, pays all its profits to its racecourse-shareholders, which last year totalled £65million.”

Wetherby’s coverage will be hosted by Peter Naughton and Mark Howard this evening with the card concluding with the Racing UK Is 10 Today Open Hunters´ Chase at 9.05pm, 90 minutes after the Yorkshire Post Magazine Handicap Chase.

The lightly-weighted Little Jimmy will be well fancied for the latter while Oscar Time will be all the rage in the finale And racing UK’s latest offer is likely to be similarly popular with the channel offering their service at £10/€12.50 a month for an entire year for today only.

Full terms and conditions can be found at http://www.racinguk.com/anniversaryoffer with the offer open for today only for 10 hours between 10am and 8pm.

The offer leads to a saving of £150 or €186.

Life is good at channel 432 and nobody at the organisation is resting on their laurels.

As FitzGerald says himself: “Here’s to the next 10 years!”

Jockey Paul Hanagan, right, and trainer Richard Fahey

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