Upbeat viewing figures for ITV

The first programme of a new era for terrestrial coverage of horse racing on ITV resulted in positive viewing figures.

The ITV Racing team of presenter Ed Chamberlain (R) with AP McCoy (C) and Luke Harvey

Ed Chamberlin led the broadcast from the winner's enclosure at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, alongside Sir Anthony McCoy and Luke Harvey, with the average viewing figure being 676,000. Figures peaked at 831,000, ITV confirmed

Matt Chapman featured in the betting ring and others involved included Mick Fitzgerald, Alice Plunkett and Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton, whose 'switching saddles' challenge last year saw her ride at the Cheltenham Festival.

The first show after 32 years of Channel 4 coverage received generally upbeat reviews, with Chamberlin, who has moved from Sky Sports, where he fronted the popular Monday Night Football series, saying he "absolutely loved it" despite the pouring rain at the home of National Hunt racing.

He added: "That's proper National Hunt weather and that's what it's all about. We promised to bring people to the heart of the action."

Coverage moves to ITV4 from this weekend at Sandown and Wincanton, where it will stay until the Cheltenham Festival.

Read More at Sporting Life

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