Hoiles offered ITV lead commentator role

Richard Hoiles: poised to become the voice of ITV racing

Hoiles offered ITV commentator role By Jon Lees 10:40AM 28 SEP 2016

RICHARD HOILES is poised to become the voice of ITV racing next year after being offered the role of lead commentator.

The Racing Post understands he has been approached to take on the job still vacant within the team that will take over exclusive terrestrial coverage of the sport next year after first choice John Hunt turned down the post to stay with BBC Five Live.

Hoiles is number two behind Simon Holt with Channel 4 Racing and while ITV is believed to want to appoint a second commentator it will not be Holt, who has been told he is not part of ITV's plans.

Hoiles declined to comment when contacted by the Racing Post on Wednesday.

Holt reaction

Holt, 52, has covered the last 17 Cheltenham Festivals, calling Istabraq's third Champion Hurdle victory, Best Mate's three Gold Cups and the Kauto Star v Denman clashes as well as nearly all Frankel's races.

He had been open to staying on, even in a reduced role, but like presenter Nick Luck was perceived as being too closely identified with Channel 4 Racing.

"I am disappointed," Holt said. "I had the call on Monday morning from Niall Sloane saying that there was nothing wrong with my commentating but I was too linked to Channel 4 to their liking. They wanted to have a new sound I guess.

"I am in a similar situation to Nick really, being so identifiable with Channel 4 having been with them for over 20 years – they just felt they wanted a break.

"I was kind of half expecting it. I have had a very good run. I have called some fantastic races over the years and I am very proud of all of that."

Holt, 52, has no appetite to hang up the microphone, and added: "I am sure I would have done a very good job for them. I said to Niall I wouldn't have been too proud to take the second job. I just would have liked to have been part of the team and enjoyed being part of that new challenge.

"I think they had made up their mind quite a while ago. They might have told me a little earlier because I don't think they had any intention of using me. They were courting John Hunt and when he declined I don't think I was on the shortlist even then."

ITV team

Hoiles will join a team of which only lead anchor Ed Chamberlin, Francesca Cumani and Matt Chapman are confirmed members, although the Racing Post has in recent weeks revealed Channel 4 regulars Rishi Persad and Mick Fitzgerald have been offered jobs, as have Hayley Turner and Sally Ann Grassick.

Alice Plunkett has also been tipped to make the move from Channel 4, while Oli Bell is thought likely to be revealed as presenter of ITV's version of The Morning Line.

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