Ten Sports adds horse power to programming with new show

MUMBAI: Ten Sports is looking to spice up its coverage of horse racing with a new show. The Winning Post is produced and hosted by Mohit Lalwani. It airs every Saturday at 8 pm and features interviews with jockeys, breeders.



Speaking to on the initiative, Ten Sports' programming VP Peter Hutton says, " Mohit Lalvani, a noted horse owner and brilliant racing analyst, is producing it. This allows him to give the inside view of all that's happening with the sport including interviews with jockeys and owners looking ahead to the week's big races. Mohit made a great impression as a commentator for us last season and we were very impressed by the pilots he submitted."

Regarding the number of hours and races that would air next season, Hutton pointed out that the horse racing calendar had not been fixed beyond April. " We will be working very closely with the turf clubs on this front."

A few days ago a report appeared in a leading daily stating that due to a lack of sponsorship revenue Ten Sports had decided to curtail its coverage of the Mumbai racing season. Asked why the broadcaster had decided not to cancel the sport altogether if the investment had not proven fruitful, Taj Television CEO Chris McDonald said, " The statement is incorrect. Fruitful is a very subjective term. Things are improving by the day and the signs are positive."

"The fact is that the coverage of horse racing has increased as compared to last year with weekly half hour shows in addition to the live telecast of the races. On the day of the Derby, the duration of the telecast extends to three hours. Additionally, we have invested our efforts in creatively maximising the production quality and exposure of the races we bring this year."

Ten Sports also plans packaging horse racing with cricket. The aim is to increase the audience base. Hutton gave an example saying, " We have deliberately scheduled some of the big races. An example was the 2,000 Guineas which took place this weekend. When the test match between England and Sri Lanka finished we moved straight onto the racing and also promoted the racing during the live cricket show."

Meanwhile Taj Television India MD Sarmishta Rijhwani dismissed suggestions that horse racing had failed to attract an audience in India saying, "That is not correct. For a sport, which has got its first opportunity to be on television only last year, it has done very well. For example, the ratings of the international races such as the Dubai World Cup and Royal Ascot were particularly impressive.

"Our acquisition strategy has been to identify potentially popular sports in India and invest behind the same for a substantially long period of time. This strategy worked wonders for us for hockey and the car racing World Series featuring Narain Karthikeyan. We are expecting similar results for horse racing."

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