Clare Balding will be the face of Channel 4 horse racing after completing her switch from the BBC ahead of the new National Hunt season
It was the news that many racing fans were hoping for. Clare Balding has signed for Channel 4 in the past few days and the presenter will waste little time getting started when she fronts coverage of the London Paralympics.
However, she will also be on hand to cover all the major National Hunt meetings of the 2012-13 season including the Cheltenham Festival and her coverage of the 2012 Olympics for the BBC was met with widespread acclaim.
Racing fans have previously been accustomed to watching Balding fron the BBC coverage of horse racing, although the channel has slowly lost the rights to several high-profile meetings and it seemed inevitable that Channel 4 would look to secure someone whose roots are in the sport.
Balding, who anchored the BBC's coverage of the swimming and equestrian events at the Olympics, as well as the BBC's horseracing coverage outside of the games, said she was excited by Channel 4's plans and "the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses".
She said the new deal would enable her to combine horseracing on Channel 4 with "expanded and varied programming at the BBC".
Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: "Clare has shown over the last two weeks at the Olympics why she is rightly acclaimed as one of the UK's leading broadcasters and I'm delighted that, in addition to presenting the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel 4 this autumn, she will lead our horseracing coverage from 2013.
"With the expertise of IMG Sports on board, I'm hugely excited about the future of racing on Channel 4."