After a false start a couple of years ago, it now seems only a matter of time before Saturday metropolitan Queensland thoroughbred racing is broadcast on free-to-air television.
With the new broadcast agreement put to bed between Queensland clubs and SKY, Tabcorp’s managing director of wagering and media Adam Rytenskildsays FTA negotiations are well advanced and “will happen” with the potential for 52 weeks a year.
“I can’t say what network at this stage. We will talk to all of the networks, but for NSW thoroughbreds and Queensland thoroughbreds on Saturday afternoons you will see significantly increased free-to-air coverage,” Rytenskild said.
“We want to get the best deal and the best offer for customers with the right network. It just depends how long those discussions will take.
“I can’t put a time frame on it, but it will happen. It’s something we are focused on.”
Brisbane Racing Club chief executive Tony Partridge said showcasing Brisbane racing every Saturday on free to air was a critical part of the new partnership with SKY.
“A significant commitment has been made by BRC over the next 10 years to make Brisbane racing on free to air every Saturday possible, Partridge said.
“Regular free to air will increase wagering revenue for the industry and grow our audience, but it’s exciting to think what it might do for the profile of our horses, jockeys and trainers.”
Rytenskild revealed SKY has plans to further broaden its coverage in coming months, particularly with SKY 2 now part of Foxtel’s base tier and the SKY Racing Active app, which now has 140,000 users.
“I am really happy with the way SKY is placed. Our focus is to be the place where punters can come for wall to wall content for all codes, to have it in one place and have a rich experience,” he said.
“We will launch a content hub before spring that will build over time.”
The SKY 2 channel will start showcasing feature harness and greyhound events, including those from Queensland.
Wendy Peel was sporting the biggest of grins after showing plenty of poise to land Canapes a winner for her master Paul Bloodworth in the Benchmark 78 Handicap at Doomben.
This was Peel’s first metropolitan win, having joined Bloodworth in the past two months.
Peel, who was formerly with Rodney Robb in country New South Wales, has impressed Bloodworth with her work ethic and consistent form.
“If you look at her past 30 rides, there’s only a couple where you would say she didn’t ride them well,” Bloodworth said.
“She’s a bloody hard worker and deserves this success.”
Peel took up the early running on Canapes, but when Brad Stewart asserted pressure midrace, she let him go and then eased off the fence to have Canapes still travelling in the perfect spot.
“I can’t believe it,” Peel said.
“I just had to ride him like the best horse.”
The 27-year-old made a quick exit from Doomben to drive up to Toowoomba, where she rode the first winner on the card, Papa Jo.
AN AWESOME FOURSOME
Craig Cousins is doing a good job with his team of just four horses at the moment after Conquer The Stars caused a boilover in the opener at Doomben yesterday.
Cousins stretched Conquer The Stars to 1800m last prep, but had him nice and fresh for yesterday’s first up assignment.
It followed The Great Boombino, who runs at the Gold Coast this Saturday, almost causing a boilover in last week’s $125,000 F&M Quality.
FISTICUFFS DIGS DEEP
Rugby league legend Tommy Raudonikis was on course to see his horse Fisticuffs return to the winning list after a handful of defeats as favourite in recent times.
It looked a bit hairy for a while, as it seemed Fisticuffs was going to be a good thing beaten, but Ryan Maloney found clear running in time and Fisticuffs did the rest.
Raudonikis, who part-owns the gelding with John Singleton, let co-trainer Toby Edmonds in no doubt as to his excitement.
“Don’t worry he rode it out. He gave me a good fist in the ribs as it won,” Edmonds said.