Chamberlin welcomes in new era
Ed Chamberlin expressed delight and anticipation in equal measure as racing returned to ITV after a 32-year absence.
ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin presents the new racing programme at Cheltenham
Chamberlin, the new lead presenter for ITV Racing having been lured from Sky Sports, was joined by Sir Anthony McCoy and Luke Harvey on a podium in the Cheltenham winner's enclosure to welcome in a new era for the sport.
He said: "What a year it promises to be for horse racing. After 30 years it feels great to be back on ITV.
"What a magical place to start our coverage, the home of National Hunt racing."
Chamberlin also introduced Alice Plunkett, Matt Chapman, Mick Fitzgerald and Victoria Pendleton during his opening salvo at a rain-sodden Cheltenham, while Oli Bell reported from Musselburgh.
McCoy felt Cheltenham was the ideal first staging post for ITV Racing.
He said: "As an owner, trainer or jockey this is where you want to have a winner.
"If you are lucky enough to have a winner here, the roar of 70,000 people, there's nothing like it – there's nowhere quite like Cheltenham.
"The one thing I really miss is knowing that I will never have that feeling again."
ITV replaces Channel 4, whose 32-year tenure as the sole terrestrial broadcaster for the sport ended at Kempton and at Chepstow on December 27.
Speaking from the Cheltenham betting ring, At The Races regular Chapman – finally getting his much-sought-after break on a terrestrial platform – said: "When we are here in March for the four days of the Festival over #250million will be bet in this ring.
"That, ladies and gentleman, is more the ITV contract Ed Chamberlin has signed!"