Matt Chapman: starts with new ITV racing team from January 1
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
MATT CHAPMAN, the At The Races presenter, has been appointed the new betting reporter for ITV when the network takes over terrestrial coverage of horseracing in the new year, it was announced on Friday.
Chapman, a former Racing Post reporter and HWPA Broadcaster of the Year award winner, has been hired to bring “colourful insight and guidance” to all betting stories in the sport and will operate on both the ITV main channel and ITV4.
He said: “I’m very fortunate to be part of an ITV team that loves sport and loves racing, which has captivated me since a very young age. This role provides me with a terrific opportunity to mix the serious world of punting with the fun of a great sport.
“The ring at a racetrack is often the thumping heartbeat of any course. The betting area brings movement and colour and can often predict the outcome of a race. Mix that with the many characters racing incorporates and you have a cocktail that I hope viewers will embrace.”
Chapman had been a hot favourite for the role since ITV won the contract from Channel 4 and is perceived as someone who can inject fun and lightness into the coverage of racing, which critics have said has been largely absent from Channel 4 since IMG took over production in 2013.
Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said: “Matt is steeped in the racing world, hugely experienced and knowledgeable and will bring his unique voice and character to our coverage, offering viewers a lively guide to each day’s betting prospects.”
Team takes shape
Chapman joins lead anchors Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani as the only other confirmed members of the presenting team, 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.
The commentator’s slot remains unfilled with first choice John Hunt having agreed a deal to stay with BBC Radio 5 live.
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