Northern Ireland horse racing returns to BBC NI with Ulster Derby

Looking forward to the Magners Derby at Down Royal, the richest flat race in Northern Ireland, are (l-r) 'jockey' Meagan Green; Mike Todd, General Manager of Down Royal Racecourse; Eimhear Daly, Magners Brand Manager for Tennent's NI; and socialite Rebekah Shirley.
Looking forward to the Magners Derby at Down Royal, the richest flat race in Northern Ireland, are (l-r) 'jockey' Meagan Green; Mike Todd, General Manager of Down Royal Racecourse; Eimhear Daly, Magners Brand Manager for Tennent's NI; and socialite Rebekah Shirley.

BBC Northern Ireland will have live coverage of The Magners Ulster Derby at Down Royal on Saturday June 20 - the first time they have covered live racing in the Province since 1994.

Mark Sidebottom will be presenting live coverage of three races, including the main event of the day, The Magners Ulster Derby at 3.45pm.

Mark will be joined by Irish flat racing jockey and trainer Johnny Murtagh who - as winner of four Derbys, five Ascot Gold Cups, four Irish Derby’s and more than 100 Group one winners - is one of the top names in international racing. Horse racing stalwart and former amateur jockey Richard Pugh will also be with the BBC Sport NI team for the day calling all the runners and riders for the races.

The programme will also feature live coverage of The Value Cabs Handicap at 3.10pm and The European Breeders Fund Coolmore Stud Ulster Oaks Fillies Handicap at 4.15pm.

In addition to the live races; BBC NI will be catch up with recently retired champion jockey AP McCoy; pay a visit to farrier to the stars Stephen Kielt; and spend a day on the gallops with top local trainer Andy Oliver.

Thomas Kane and Sarah Travers will also be roaming the paddocks and catching up with all the local fashionistas at ladies day as they compete for “best dressed lady”.

Jane Tohill, Executive producer, BBC Sport NI says: “The Derby is a highly significant event in the Horse Racing Calendar and BBC Sport NI is delighted to bring it to our audiences as part of our coverage from Down Royal Summer Festival of Racing. Down Royal is a first class venue and has attracted a great field for the day’s racing, we look forward to bringing this event to our audience.”

Mike Todd, General Manager of Down Royal Racecourse said: “I’m delighted the BBC are covering one of the highlights of the local sporting and social calendar. The Derby at Down Royal has a long and illustrious history since its creation in 1936. The legendary Lester Piggott won the race as a jockey and the 2000 winner Media Puzzle went on to win one of the richest races in the world - the Melbourne Cup; ‘the race that stops a nation.’”