BBC furious with reporter over horse racing coverage as details of internal issues emerge

BBC horse racing

The BBC are furious at the way horse racing was covered on Radio Four over the weekend

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 16/10/2023

- 08:34

The corporation weren't happy over the weekend

The BBC were unhappy on Saturday due to coverage of horse racing on Radio Four, according to reports.

In previous years, recommending racing tips has been non-negotiable - in a tradition that dates back to the late 1970s.

On Saturday, however, there was 'consternation' after stand-in presenter Mike Williams opted against providing the customary choices in the 7.25am bulletin.

According to the Daily Mail, Williams has 'previous' for this kind of behaviour.

BBC horse racing

The BBC have provided betting tips for horse racing in a tradition ever since the 1970s


BBC chiefs believe the tips to be 'an essential part of the programme'.

Williams was challenged on air by both main presenters, Amol Rajan and Mishal Husain, over his decision.

Husain asked: "No tips?"

And Rajan then seemed to echo his comments by saying 'good spot'.

William didn't appear fazed, however, and proceeded to offer two runners for the race at Newmarket.

Rajan quizzed the presenter by saying: "Did you forget or not think it worthwhile?"

His colleague replied bluntly by saying 'a bit of both'.

Furthermore, a BBC insider is quoted as criticising Williams by saying: "Mike has a tip on himself."

Back in January, it emerged the BBC were considering dropping the daily racing tips from Radio Four's flagship Today programme.

They held talks that same month over the decision, while also insisting a final call had yet to be made.

After the news emerged former BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght took aim at the corporation and said it would be 'another kick in the teeth' for the sport.

"At a time when racing's media profile has been eroded and racecourse attendances have been falling this is another kick in the teeth for the sport," he said.

"It is massively disappointing news, but probably not a complete surprise.

"Any publicity racing can secure is valuable and the Today programme audience is huge.

"Anything related to gambling clearly prompts debate at the moment and rightly so, but the tips are just a bit of fun rather than serious advice to bet and to suggest otherwise would be to misunderstand them."

Meanwhile, in other horse racing news, Frankie Dettori recently cancelled his retirement.

The 52-year-old had originally planned to bow out in December, having long been successful in the sport.

And Dettori explained his U-turn last week by saying: “I’ve had the most amazing career and head to British Champions Day with some brilliant rides (currently

Courage Mon Ami, Kinross, King of Steel and Inspiral or Chaldean).

"This will mark my final day riding in Britain after which I will head to the Breeders’ Cup and Melbourne."

He added: “The news is, after lots of speculation and talking to my wife and parents and close friends, I didn’t realise this year was going to end up like this, and so...I’m not ready to retire.


Horse racing

The BBC were rumoured to be ditching their horse racing tips all the way back in January


"I’ve still got it in me to carry on a bit longer.

“Obviously I’ve told everyone over the past year that I’d be staying my last goodbyes on the tracks.

"But I feel like I can do a bit more in the US.

"I had an absolutely amazing time there last winter.

"That’s it, basically.”

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