The John Smith’s Grand National will be on Channel 4 for the first time in its history this year, with the channel going all-out to promote its association with the event.
Its “ground-breaking” on and off-air promotions are headlined by its Street Race film, which was made in Liverpool’s Everton Park by the same team that made the critically acclaimed Meet The Superhumans’ film ahead of the Paralympics.
In the build up to the race, Channel 4 has commissioned a series of programmes, including How to Win the Grand National presented by veterinary expert Mark Evans; Come Dine With Me, starring jockeys and Channel 4 Racing’s Emma Spencer; Alan Carr’s Grand National Specstacular: The Night Before the National; and a special edition of Saturday Brunch following The Morning Line before racing.
“Cheltenham Festival proved that racing provides all the drama and emotion of a world class sporting event. We were delighted to bring the four days into people’s homes and after a strong start to our Crown Jewels coverage we now head to Aintree with relish,” said Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s sports editor.
In total, there will be more than 15 hours of live action, with 5 daily races and a full day of programming around the Grand National itself. It will be fronted by Clare Balding, alongside Nick Luck, Jim McGrath, Mick Fitzgerald, Graham Cunningham and Ted Walsh.
45 cameras are being deployed around Aintree, along with the “Camcat wire-cam system” which runs alongside the track from a height of 20-40 metres, 2 fences out. A new tracking camera will following the race around the track, as will a tracking crane, which is mounted onto a vehicle that will travel ahead of the action, but provide an elevated angle of up to 18 feet.
Channel 4 have also employed aerial cameraman, David Manton, to film the event for the first time from a low-noise helicopter, while Superloupe Hi-Motion cameras will record the action at speeds of 1000 frames per second. A new fence sound system aims to capture the “high action and drama” of the meet.
Live text commentary via multimedia platforms has been created in-house, as has a Channel 4 Racing App.