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Dublin: 20 °C Friday 23 August, 2019
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You can tune into a new horse racing radio station that's been set up in the Curragh

Based in Newbridge, Racing FM provides live broadcasts of all horse racing across Ireland and Britain.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FOR ANY RACING fanatics out there who feel the sport of kings is not getting its just deserves in print, on the airwaves or across the web; despair no more.

You can now hear the trampling of hooves and sound of fortunes being won and lost, seven days a week, 24 hours a day on the recently-established Racing FM.

Broadcasting in Newbridge, Co Kildare, not far from the Curragh, the online radio station went live in June, and has gone, they say, from strength to strength ever since.

The brainchild of Dean Ryan, a Londoner now residing in Kildare, and the son of a professional gambler, the station was set up in response to what he saw as glaring gap in the market, and he soon enlisted the help of broadcaster Rory Burke, of C103 in Cork, and racing guru Kevin Walsh.

Providing full live commentary from all race meets across Ireland and Britain, Racing FM, since its maiden broadcast on the first day of this year’s Royal Ascot, has been heard in 76 countries.

According to Ryan, the sheer volume of race meets means people are generally unable to see them all, and the site provides a platform to rectify that.

“Over a couple of years, I was kind of saying that it was so strange that there wasn’t a horse racing station,” he says. “Which is crazy, because how many top sports have live products every day? Horse racing was the only one I could think of.

“People have busy lives, they can’t spend all day stuck to the TV, so it was such an obvious avenue that racing wasn’t using. There’s a serious niche market for it; seven million people across Ireland and the UK went racing last year.

“Racing is one of those sports where there is live products every day, so whatever racing is on we bring it, as long as it is the UK and Ireland.  We have the rights for the streams from the courses, so often you get in-course commentary. We tell you what’s happening in the markets, we’ll even give you tips and suggestions.”

In addition to live events, the station also offers a variety of other programmes, with interviews from some of the biggest names in the sport.

“We have a presenter hosting live before the first race everyday, which is usually one o’clock, until the last race of the evening. After that we have our own shows, like In the Weigh-in Room, where we’re always talking to jockeys and trainers. Then there’s Off the Track, which is industry related or colour pieces. We also have the Aussie Hour; we’ve been doing a lot of Australian jockeys, especially those with Irish heritage.”

“There is three of us all the time, but in terms of contributions, you’ll hear people like Dom McClean, trainers and jockeys, who we interview all the time. So far we’ve had Davy Russell on, Mick Winters, Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien.”

Many start-up media ventures fall by the wayside in the blink of an eye, but Racing FM has hit the ground running, Ryan says.

“In about 10 weeks we’ve come quite a long way. We’re the only independent horse racing station. We’ve hit 76 countries, have down about 5,000 downloads of the App and have had roughly 50,000 interactions with the station since day one.”

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Tom Rooney

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